Ekho Moskvy Shortlisted for Nobel

According to the Peace Research Institute Oslo (PRIO), Russian radio station Ekho Moskvy (Echo of Moscow) and its chief editor Alexei Venediktov are leading contenders for this year’s Nobel Peace Prize.

Others leading the list include U.S. professor Gene Sharp, a theorist on non-violent struggle; and Memorial, the Russian organization focusing on human rights, democracy, and reconciliation through historical documentation, alongside founding member Svetlana Gannushkina.

Ekho Moskvy, today one of the major independent sources of news and commentary in Russia and several of the CIS-countries, is owned by Gazprom Media and began broadcasting in 1990. It has long challenged the Russian establishment and criticized President Vladimir Putin. If the Nobel Committee chooses the news/talk radio station, it would be the first media outlet to win the Peace Prize.

“Under continuous government pressure, yet able to operate relatively freely, there has been some criticism that the channel is overly submissive,” said a release on the PRIO website. “A prize to honor independent reporting in Russia could combine Radio Echo Moscow with others, such as Novaya Gazeta newspaper (where the late Anna Politkovskaya worked), the Caucasian knot web-portal (a source of independent information on the Caucasus), or Yassen Nikolayevich Zassoursky, widely seen as the godfather of critical journalism, and founder of the Faculty of Journalism at Moscow State University.

Kristian Berg Harpviken, PRIO director, who speculated over who will when the prize, placed non-violence theorist Gene Sharp first, Russian human rights organization Memorial second, Ekho Moskvy third, Nigerian Archbishop John Onaiyekan and Sultan of Sokoto Mohamed Sa'ad Abubakar fourth, and Burma’s President Thein Sein fifth.

According to reports, Ekho Moskvy’s Venediktov called the nomination “pleasant, although it is undeserved,” adding that “media should get a professional award maybe for physics because radio is about acoustics.”

The Norwegian Nobel Committee will announce the 2012 Peace Prize winner Oct. 12.

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