SWEDEN: Activists, journalist receive 'alternate Nobel' awards

American journalist Amy Goodman, the host of the radio and television program 'Democracy Now!', is among the four recipients of a Right Livelihood Award

The Jakarta Post
Tuesday, December 9, 2008

By Veeramalla Anjaiah

Stockholm --- Each year, only a few people win the prestigious Nobel Prize, and the prize is only awarded in the fields of physics, physiology/medicine, chemistry, literature, peace and economy.

But what about the people who work in other categories?

The Right Livelihood Award is the answer.

The world's premier award, which is widely known as the "alternative Noble Prize", is awarded to individuals with outstanding visions who work on behalf of our planet and its people every year.

Unlike the Nobel Prize, the Right Livelihood Award has no categories.

The 2008 award was presented Monday, two days before the Nobel presentation, to a Somali women's activist, a German-based Swiss-born doctor, an Indian activist couple and an U.S female journalist at the Swedish Parliament in Stockholm.

The winners will share 2 million Swedish kronors (US$290,000).

The award was founded by a Swedish-German philanthropist to recognize individuals' outstanding works that he felt were being ignored by the Nobel Foundation.

Asha Hagi, a lawmaker and founder of the Save Somalia Women and Children organization from war-torn Somalia was awarded for her efforts to end the violence and poverty that Somali women suffer.

The organizers of the Award said the jury honored Hagi "for continuing to lead, at great personal risk, female participation in the peace and reconciliation process in the war-ravaged country".

Monika Hauser, a gynecologist and founder of "medica mondiale", received the award for her work in helping more than 70,000 sexually abused women in various conflict zones.

Award-winning American journalist Amy Goodman, the host of the popular Democracy Now! radio and television program, was honored for "truly independent political journalism that brings to millions of people alternative voices that are often excluded by the mainstream media".

Goodman, who won the Robert F. Kennedy Memorial Prize for her coverage of killings in Timor Leste in 1991 and her book "The Story of East Timor", is the first journalist to receive the Right Livelihood Award.

Krishnaammal Jagannathan and her husband Sankarlingam Jagannathan, as well as their Land For the Tillers' Freedom (Lafti), received the award for "two long lifetimes of work dedicated to realizing in practice the Gandhian vision of social justice and sustainable human development".

Late rights warrior Munir is the only Indonesian to ever receive the Right Livelihood Award since its establishment in 1980. He received the award in 2000 for his work in defending human rights in the country.