VERA FILES FACT CHECK: Blogger MISLEADS with FB post on Nobel Peace Prize nomination rule

Pro-administration blogger Mark Lopez labelled as "fake" news reports that Rappler co-founder Maria Ressa has been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize and claimed in a Feb. 5 Facebook (FB) post that nominations for the award “cannot be revealed” as it is bound to a 50-year secrecy rule.

This is misleading.

The secrecy rule applies only to the Norwegian Nobel Committee — a group of five individuals tasked by the Storting or the Norwegian parliament to screen and select the Nobel Peace Prize laureates. The Committee is restricted from announcing, sharing, confirming, and disconfirming nominations for the award until after 50 years, when the official list of nominees is made public.

Ressa, together with nonprofit organizations Reporters Without Borders and the Committee to Protect Journalists, was nominated by Jonas Gahr Støre, leader of the Storting’s Labour Party and the Opposition, according to a report by Nowegian news publication Journalisten.

To further support his claim about Ressa’s nomination being bogus, Lopez wrote that nominations “cannot be done just by anybody.”

Støre, however, is qualified to nominate. As a member of the Norwegian parliament, he fulfils the criteria set by the Nobel statutes in determining eligible nominators for the Peace Prize.

Among the qualified nominators are:

  • members of national governments, assemblies, and international courts of law;
  • leaders of peace research institutes and institutes of foreign affairs;
  • university chancellors and professors of political and social science, history, philosophy, law, and theology;
  • previous Nobel Peace Prize Laureates and board members of groups that have won the award;
  • present and past members of the Norwegian Nobel Committee; and
  • former advisers of the Norwegian Nobel Institute.

Self-nomination is prohibited.

Other nominees for this year’s Nobel Peace Prize which also made headlines recently are Poynter Institute’s International Fact Checking Network, American Democrat politician and voting rights activist Stacey Abrams, the Black Lives Matter movement, and former United States Presidential adviser Jared Kushner.

Last year, opposition senator Leila de Lima was also nominated for the Peace Prize by Liberal International, a global alliance of liberal and progressive democratic political parties, for her contributions “to the protection of basic human rights.”

The Nobel Peace Prize is a prestigious award bestowed annually to a “champion of peace” who “[has] done the most or best to advance fellowship among nations, the abolition or reduction of standing armies, and the establishment and promotion of peace congresses.”

The Peace Prize, alongside the Nobel Prizes for Physics, Chemistry, Medicine, and Literature, are given as part of the fulfillment of the last will of Swedish inventor and philanthropist Alfred Nobel. The whole process of nomination, screening, and selection of winners starts every September and wraps up through an awarding ceremony held December the following year in Oslo, Norway.

Lopez’s misleading post has received over 4,500 reactions, 272 comments, and 281 shares from FB users.

(Editor's Note: VERA Files has partnered with Facebook to fight the spread of disinformation. Find out more about this partnership and our methodology.)

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Founded in March 2008, VERA Files is published by veteran Filipino journalists taking a deeper look into current Philippine issues. Vera is Latin for “true.”

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