The Nobel Peace Prize is undoubtedly one of the most reputed international awards. Over the past few years, it’s been awarded to a lot of people and organizations. I was hitherto under the impression that the Nobel Peace Prize was intended for individuals and for organizations. In the past, various arms of the UN (ILO, UNICEF etc) and other bodies like the Red Cross, Grameen Bank, Doctors without Borders have been awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. However, it seems to have a strange affinity for controversy. Even last year, the award of the prize to United States President Barack Obama drew much criticism. Most people, including myself, considered it too premature. It was an anticipatory award in manner of sorts.
Now, the Internet has been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize. The first reaction? Who’ll collect it? (That joke alone has been the cause of many tweets – came right up alongside a Google Search).
The Internet was proposed by the Italian edition of the popular Wired magazine. The reason? It promotes “Dialogue, debate, and consensus through communication” as well as democracy? (Someone please explain that bit to China again)
In fact, there’s a newly launched site http://www.internetforpeace.org.
This is their manifesto:
We have finally realized that the Internet is much more than a network of computers. It is an endless web of people. Men and women from every corner of the globe are connecting to one another, thanks to the biggest social interface ever known to humanity. Digital culture has laid the foundations for a new kind of society. And this society is advancing dialogue, debate and consensus through communication. Because democracy has always flourished where there is openness, acceptance, discussion and participation. And contact with others has always been the most effective antidote against hatred and conflict. That’s why the Internet is a tool for peace. That’s why anyone who uses it can sow the seeds of non-violence. And that’s why the next Nobel Peace Prize should go to the Net.
A Nobel for each and every one of us.
It will soon be translated into multiple languages and can be downloaded. To be part of the movement, you can sign up, and your name will be mentioned as one of those recommending the Internet for Peace.
Wired Italy will carry a dedicated campaign “Internet For Peace” till 2010, with stories about those from acrros the world who have used the web to do something concrete and promote peace and harmony. The initiative, backed not just by the US and UK versions of the magazine is also backed by several celebrities and past Peace Prize Winners.
My opinion :
It’s frankly quite retarded. How does awarding a medium imply anything? Is it me, or does this seem like a mere PR stunt? The Internet is brilliant, agreed. It has great potential, it can do a lot of good in the right hands. But the Internet is also a source, which can be twisted to benefit those who would wish to cause harm. Case in point : hacking, cyber fraud, online crimes, cyber-stalking, all of which are encouraged by the Internet. The Internet helps spread information, it’s a medium of communication. But to give it a Nobel Peace Prize? For what? The same Internet that allowed for the people in Iran to voice their concern allowed them to be tracked down. The Internet is a TOOL (The manifesto states so itself). What justifies giving a Tool the Nobel Peace Prize? What about Literature then? Why not Science? Why not Medicine as an entire field?
Or Recursively, why not award the Nobel Peace Prize the Nobel Peace Prize for promoting and awarding the promotion of Peace?
Why not consider giving A Gun the Peace Prize? After all, isn’t it used to Enforce Peace?
There was a recent WATBlog article on the Internet helps people. Mashable does a series of “Social Media for Good” articles. We all understand the importance of it. However, isn’t it rather silly to grant “The Internet” the Nobel Peace Prize? After all, how many tweets can you fit on an acceptance speech? And who’s going to say it?