Hugh Pickens writes writes "WikiLeaks and the Internet are among a record 241 nominations for the 2011 Nobel Peace Prize that also includes Afghan rights advocate Sima Samar, the European Union, former German Chancellor Helmut Kohl, Cuban dissident Oswaldo Paya Sardinas, Russian rights group Memorial and its founder Svetlana Gannushkina. 'Looking at the long term, we can say interest in the prize is strong and growing along with the number of candidates,' says Geir Lundestad, a non-voting member of the Nobel panel. WikiLeaks grabbed the world's attention and angered a number of governments by publishing thousands of secret US diplomatic cables, while pundits say the Internet or social media such as Facebook and Twitter, which have been used to help organize dissent in countries with oppressive governments, could be rewarded. Under the leadership of former Prime Minister Thorbjoern Jagland, the Nobel panel has not shied away from bold decisions — first picking Barack Obama just months after he became US president, and last year awarding the prize to jailed Chinese dissident Liu Xiaobo."
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