Edward Snowden awarded the Bjørnson Prize 2015

DATE: 2 JUNE 2015

The Bjørnstjerne Bjørnson Academy is proud to announce that The Bjørnson Prize 2015 is to be awarded Edward Snowden for his work on the important issue of the right of privacy, and for being instrumental in heightening the critical awareness regarding the surveillance currently being done by states on their nationals.

 The award will be presented to Edward Snowden at the Bjornson Seminar in Molde on 5 September.

The Bjørnson Academy awards Snowden this year’s Bjørnson Prize because he, through his revelations, have shown how the electronic integrated information world can be a threat to personal integrity, and also might pose a threat against freedom of expression. If everything being said and written can be recorded and stored by the state, the free exchange of thoughts, opinions and ideas will, in diverse and unpredictable ways, come to harm. Many will restrain themselves because ‘big brother is watching you’, while others might face sanctions because they have transgressed the invisible boundaries defined by the state. This is relevant to several of Bjørnstjerne Bjørnson’s main concerns as we know them, as the monitoring of a state’s nationals represents a threat to both individual freedom and freedom of expression.

We hope that the awarding of the Bjørnson Prize to Edward Snowden can help to increase the commitment and interest in this area, and for more people to see the connection between surveillance and freedom of expression.

Snowden is naturally invited to come to Molde to receive the award on September 5, and we have asked the Norwegian authorities to provide him the protection he needs in order to receive the deserved price. The letter enclosed to Minister of Justice Anders Anundsen and Prime Minister Erna Solberg is enclosed.

Contact Persons:
Thomas Hylland Eriksen: phone: + 47 90 05 02 93, e-mail: t.h.eriksen@sai.uio.no
Hege Newth Nouri: phone: +47 93 00 22 62, e-mail: hege@norskpen.no
Kristenn EInarsson: phone: +47 90 12 97 11, e-mail: kristenn.einarsson@gmail.com

Bjørnson Academy, The Norwegian Academy of Literature and Freedom of Expression, was founded in 2003.

The Academy is namned after the Nobel Prize Winner Bjørnstjerne Bjørnson, and shall according to its statutes cover the area between the art of writing and the engagement in current society issues. The work has mainly been centred around larger international seminars and in publishing a series of essays related to the topics raised by these seminars.

The Academy annually presents a price of NOK 100,000 and a statuette and a diploma to a person or an institution that has contributed largely in an international context
within the area covered by the Academy’s purposes.
Past winners of the Bjornson Prize is ia Kristin Solberg, Yasar Kemal, Bishop Thomas of al-Qusiyya and Mair, Wojoud Mejalli, David Zonsheine, Adonis and Hrant Dink.

The jury is also the Academy board: Hege Newth Nouri (president), Peter Normann Waage (vice-president), Kristenn Einarsson, Thomas Hylland Eriksen, Thorvald Steen, Knut Ødegård and Kari Vogt.