Thursday, 11 March 2010

italian house speaker: nobel peace prize for internet



Photo: Fini during a recent visit by President Emeritus of the Massachussetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Nicholas Negroponte to support the Internet's Nobel drive.

(ANSA) - Rome, March 11 - House Speaker Gianfranco Fini on Thursday threw his weight behind an initiative launched by an Italian tech magazine to award the Internet with this year's Nobel Peace Prize.

"We're finally realizing that the Internet is not just a computer network. It's a web of human relationships - of men and women from every latitude - who connect across the greatest communications platform man has ever seen," he told parliament during an address on web freedom.

Fini was joined by some 160 MPS in signing Wired Italia's appeal to nominate the Internet for the world's most distinguished civic service accolade.

"Meeting with each other has always been the best antidote to violence and hate. It gives all of us the chance to plant the seeds for peace".

"A Nobel peace prize for the Internet would be an award for everyone," he concluded.

Wired Italia launched its appeal last November in a video posted to its website ( entitled the Internet for Peace Manifesto.

Its nomination was officially accepted by the Norwegian Nobel Committee last month, according to Wired,

Early supporters for the drive included 2003 Nobel Peace Prize Winner, Iranian rights activist Shirin Ebadi, fashion mogul Giorgio Armani and cancer research pioneer and former Italian health minister Umberto Veronesi.

Governments in Uganda, Mozambique and Paraguay have also backed the Web's Nobel bid.

Wired Italia is one of two international editions of Wired Magazine, a San Francisco based monthly on trends in technology, politics and culture.


A war of words over the Nobel Peace Prize

By David Rowan
18 February 2010

A war of words over the Nobel peace prize

My energetic colleague on Italian Wired, editor Riccardo Luna, has been pushing for the internet to win the Nobel Peace Prize. Earlier this month, Riccardo went to Oslo and succeeded in having the nomination officially accepted (well, officially for the internet's founders). We and US Wired have been backing Riccardo's bold venture, and we're proud of the support he's been winning.

So when others express their doubts about the venture, Riccardo takes it to heart. He's now responded to a short posting by Pete Cashmore on Mashable which concludes: "It’s unlikely that the Nobel Committee would choose such an unlikely winner this year… [It's] going up against a Chinese dissident and a Russian human rights activist, among others." The comments range between support for the Italians ("the internet has revolutionised communication") to dismissal of the campaign as "ridiculous" and a "bad idea".

Now Riccardo has answered back.

Since the nomination was accepted on 1 February, he writes, "people from literally every country, from Belize to the Korean Republic, from Cuba to Australia, are debating the real nature of the internet. Just today I received two letters of public endorsement from the Education Ministers of Uganda and Mozambique. In addition, 160 Italian MPs have signed up for the official nomination, together with the Internet for Peace ambassadors (led by Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Shirin Ebadi)."

He continues:

"Those who consider the internet simply as a new media, or a neutral tool, are missing a point. Internet is not a network of computers any more, but a network of people. These are not my words, but Tim Berners-Lee's. One may say that his opinion is not impartial since he invented the Web. But what about: 'The internet has never been so human, because with social media we put all our lives inside it'?. This is a quote from a speech delivered by Queen Rania of Jordan at LeWeb09, last December.

"And my statement is: Internet is not about computers, but living. It is the greatest social interface humanity has ever had. It is a weapon of mass construction. As we have put out in the official manifesto of the campaign, 'digital culture is promoting a new kind of society through communication and education'. And communication and education are the roots of a peaceful world.

"One may not see it clearly now, but in the long run, new generations, growing up in this increasingly digital world, will bring ahead values of cooperation, sharing of knowledge, mutual respect."

I do think it would be a bold move for the Nobel committee to back the Italian nomination. And after the fuss last year when Obama's prize was widely questioned, I can see why they might like to opt for a safer, more conservative award-winner. But isn't it great that this campaign has generated such a lively debate about the benefits the net has brought us, particularly in empowering the people?


The Internet for Peace campaign

By Wired UK Staff
19 November 2009

Wired Italy has nominated the internet for the next Nobel Peace Prize, in a campaign dubbed Internet for Peace. The project will be featured in the next issue of Wired Italy, and is being supported by Nobel Peace Prize Winner Shirin Ebadi, Professor Umberto Veronesi and the stylist Giorgio Armani, along with the support of Wired US Editor Chris Anderson and Wired UK Editor David Rowan.

Here are some thoughts on the campaign from Wired editors around the world.

Riccardo Luna, editor of Wired Italy
“We have to look at the Internet as a huge community where men and women from all over the world and with very different religious views can communicate and sympathize, spreading a new culture centered on collaboration and sharing of knowledge that breaks all barriers. For this reason, the Internet can be considered the first weapon of mass construction, which we can deploy to destroy hate and conflict and to propagate peace and democracy. What happened in Iran after the latest election and the role the Web played in spreading information that would otherwise have been censored, are only the newest examples of how the Internet can become a weapon of global hope."

David Rowan, editor of Wired UK

“The Web is the strongest transforming force of the modern era; it gave all of us the chance to take back the power from governments and multinationals. It made the world a totally transparent place, now lobbies will have to come to terms with the Internet if they want to keep manipulating and exploiting both citizens and consumers. That’s why the time has come for the Nobel Prize Committee to acknowledge the positive impact of the Internet on our daily life.”

Chris Anderson, editor of Wired US

“In 1993, Rupert Murdoch declared that satellite TV was an "unambiguous force of democracy" since it ignored national boundaries and gave people everywhere a global perspective, spreading information and routing around tyrants and propaganda. This cost him the goodwill of the Chinese government, where he was hoping to enter the market, but he was right. Now the Web has taken that to the next level, bypassing even media moguls and letting people connect directly. When they do so, what emerges is an inspiring reflection on our species."

You can learn more about the campaign at the Internet for Peace web site.

Update Friday 20th November

1 comment:

  1. Great to see that people are grasping and expressing, if not as bluntly as i'm putting it, that if it were not for the net we indeed would now be in a post ww3 stage and immersed in a dying biosphere unfit for mammals, though fit for bugs to feast on our remains.

    What really will be an impetus like no other faciliting unbreakable connections between us wherever we are, will be when we stop using pseudonyms and start using our real names, as those of the rogue states who feel their wielding of brute state power is withering under the intense scrutiny of the interconnected millions of us, know who we are anyway for purposes of possible later oppression if the net is ever taken away from us.

    We have no choice but to link up in this way, banishing our fears of being detected (so what?), speaking openly of who is moving what chess pieces in the direction of nuclear war, for the alternative will be nuclear war, the consequences of which are rather more than rogue elements in those state systems opening a file on each of us, or sending some of us to jail as an example to the rest.