NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden and Guardian editor-in-chief Alan Rusbridger have been jointly given the 2014 Right Livelihood honorary award.
The award, from Swedish charity the Right Livelihood Award Foundation, recognised Snowden’s “courage and skill in revealing the unprecedented extent of state surveillance violating basic democratic processes and constitutional rights”.
Rusbridger’s citation recognised his role in “building a global media organisation dedicated to responsible journalism in the public interest, undaunted by the challenges of exposing corporate and government malpractices”.
The foundation said it would fund legal support for Snowden.
The Right Livelihood award was established in 1980 to honour and support those “offering practical and exemplary answers to the most urgent challenges facing us today”, with 153 laureates from 64 countries.
It is presented annually at a ceremony at the Swedish parliament and there are normally four winners.
Three other 2014 laureates will share the cash award of SEK1.5million equally: Pakistani human rights lawyer and activist Asma Jahangir; Basil Fernando of the Asian Human Rights Commission; and American environmentalist, author and journalist Bill McKibben.
Ole von Uexkull, executive director of the Right Livelihood Award Foundation, said: “This year’s Right Livelihood laureates are stemming the tide of the most dangerous global trends. With this year’s awards, we want to send a message of urgent warning that these trends – illegal mass surveillance of ordinary citizens, the violation of human and civil rights, violent manifestations of religious fundamentalism, and the decline of the planet’s life-supporting systems – are very much upon us already.
“If they are allowed to continue, and reinforce each other, they have the power to undermine the basis of civilised societies.”
The Right Livelihood Foundation promotes scientific research, education and public understanding of issues related to global ecological balance, eliminating material and spiritual poverty and contributing to lasting world peace and justice.
Source: The Guardian