New Delhi: The Nobel
prize-awarding institutions, known for their secrecy, are making
public the process of nomination and selection of this year's
Details such as the number of nominations received and how the
laureates will be chosen over the coming months for prizes in
physics, medicine, chemistry, literature, peace and economic
sciences are being posted on nobelprize.org, a website run by the
"Yes, the prize-awarding institutions have started to publish
nomination information to meet the great interest in the Nobel
prizes," Merci Olsson, marketing and communications director of
the Nobel Media AB in Stockholm, told IANS on e-mail.
According to the website, for the 2012 peace prize, the Norwegian
Nobel Committee has received 231 valid nominations of 231
candidates, of which 43 are organisations. Last year, 247
candidates were nominated. For the Literature prize, the Swedish
Academy has received 288 valid nominations and only 46 of them are
The unprecedented revelations come as the committee tackles public
criticism over its choice of Nobel laureates in the last few
years, especially for the peace prize.
Asked if the names of nominees were also being revealed since some
news reports had carried names (such as of Bradley Manning, the
American soldier who allegedly passed on classified information to
Wikileaks), Olsson said: "If there (are) names of nominees
circulating, they cannot be confirmed nor denied as this
information is confidential."
"Regarding nominations, only information about the number of
nominations is made public. The names of the nominees are
confidential for 50 years after the nomination," she said.
The 50-year rule is over for the Peace prize. On the website, one
can find the nominations database from the year 1901 to 1956,
including details of Mahatma Gandhi's nomination in 1948.
Some weeks back, the Nobel Foundation (under which the prize-
awarding institutions fall) had to justify its choice of peace
prize laureates to the Stockholm County Administrative Board. This
was to counter criticism made by Norwegian jurist Fredrik S.
Heffermehl in his book, "Nobels Fredspris: Visionen Som Forsvann'
(The Nobel Peace Prize: The Vision that Vanished)".
In a letter to the board, he wrote: "The Norwegian prize awarding
institution ignores the will and Nobel's intentions with the
In October last year, British writer Tim Parks, in his blog on the
website of "The New York Review of Books", had questioned the
Swedish Academy's decision to make Swedish poet Tomas Transtromer
a Nobel laureate. Consequently, the president of the Nobel
Committee for Literature, Per Wästberg, gave this comment: "We go
for an individual's life work regardless of nation, gender,
religion. We could, if need be, give it to Portugal or the US five
times in a row, or to essayists, historians, children's books
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