If I had heroes, Edward Snowden would be among them. Sacrificing his career, accepting exile from his homeland, and risking long years in prison, Snowden revealed to the world the lies behind our intelligence agencies’ claims they did not spy on us, that they did not engage in egregious invasions of our privacy. This act of great courage and great importance has earned him the 2014 Right Livelihood honorary award from the Swedish charity the Right Livelihood Award Foundation. The foundation recognized Snowden for his “courage and skill in revealing the unprecedented extent of state surveillance violating basic democratic processes and constitutional rights.”
He shared the award with Alan Rusbridger, editor-in-chief of the Guardian newspaper, who was recognized for his role in “building a global media organization dedicated to responsible journalism in the public interest, undaunted by the challenges of exposing corporate and government malpractices.” The Guardian published a series of articles based on documents leaked by Snowden.
The Right Livelihood Award, often referred as the “Alternative Nobel,” is awarded to “honour and support those offering practical and exemplary answers to the most urgent challenges facing us today.” Established in 1980 by philanthropist Jakob von Uexkull, it is presented annually in a ceremony at the Swedish parliament.
Snowden and Rusbridger are deserving winners. They delivered a blow against big brother at a most appropriate moment.