This year’s Nobel Peace Prize could go to exiled Belarusian dissident Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya, climate activist Greta Thunberg, or a media watchdog such as Reporters without Borders (RSF), Norwegian experts on the prize said.
The winner of the $1 million prize, arguably the world’s top accolade, is selected by a five-member panel appointed by the Norwegian parliament, and will be announced in Oslo on Oct. 8.
Groups fighting for freedom of the press such as the Paris-based Reporters without Borders (RSF) or the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) were among the main contenders, said Henrik Urdal, director of the Peace Research Institute Oslo.
“It resonates with the large debate about the importance of independent reporting and the fighting of fake news for democratic governance,” he said.
The fight against global warming could also be recognised, along with Swedish teen activist Thunberg, perhaps the world’s best known climate campaigner.
“The U.N. Security Council has expressed its concern that the adverse effects of climate change may constitute a risk to international peace and security,” said Asle Sveen, a historian of the Nobel Peace Prize.
Both Sveen and Urdal have correctly predicted winners in the past, including some that had a comparatively low international profile before they were selected.
They both also cited Tsikhanouskaya of Belarus as another top contender. She has led the opposition to president Alexander Lukashenko since last year, when she fled her home country after a presidential election her supporters say was rigged.
“(Belarus has) one of the most oppressive regimes in the world and a largely non-violent opposition. That would be a prize that resonates worldwide and would also be seen as a general reaction to what we now see as a bit of an autocratic backsliding in many countries,” said Urdal.
This year’s winner will be chose from among 329 total nominees, though the committee won’t release the full list for 50 years.
While thousands of people – from members of other parliaments worldwide to past laureates – are eligible to nominate candidates, the eventual winner has tended recently to come from among those proposed by lawmakers from Norway itself.
Norwegian parliamentarians surveyed by Reuters have disclosed nominations for both Thunberg and Tsikhanouskaya, as well as jailed Russian opposition figure Alexei Navalny, U.S. politician Stacey Abrams and the World Health Organization.
Betting agency Paddy Power has the WHO as its favourite at odds of 5/4, followed by Navalny (21/10) and the Black Lives Matter movement (5/1).
Photo – The front of the Nobel medal . EPA/BERIT ROALD