Norway’s state broadcaster NRK was apologizing Friday morning for erroneously sending out a report on an early morning newscast that the architects of the Iran nuclear agreement had won the Nobel Peace Prize. The actual prize announcement wasn’t to be made until 11am.
NRK has been both envied and criticized in the past for allegedly getting tipped about the winner of the Peace Prize, which draws international media attention every year. The Norwegian Nobel Committee has taken major steps to change its practices and ensure secrecy and security of their winning choice in recent years.
In this case, NRK insisted that it had no tips or advance information that Ernest Moniz and Ali Akbar Salehi, who had been on many lists over likely winners, would win the prize for their work on the Iran nuclear deal. Moniz and Salehi have been cited for their efforts to make sure the important agreement that resulted in Iran cutting back on its nuclear program was based on an objective and factual foundation.
“We have no assumptions as to who wins the Nobel Peace Prize,” claimed NRK editor Stein Bjøntegård on the state broadcaster’s own website. He blamed the premature report on “a technical error” that sent it out in text form while NRK’s own reporter who has specialized on the Nobel Peace Prize in recent years was speaking live on air about this year’s various candidates.
“We prepare for the announcement (always made at 11am on one of the first Fridays in October) by writing up several announcements of the many possible winners,” Bjøntegård said. “By mistake one of them was broadcast for a few seconds. We’re sorry about that.”
Speculation has swirled as usual in recent days over who will win the Nobel Peace Prize this year. The Norwegian Nobel Committee, which is appointed to reflect the political make-up of the Norwegian Parliament under the terms of benefactor Alfred Nobel’s will, had a record number of 376 nominations from which to choose this year. The prize is traditionally awarded on December 10, the anniversary of Alfred Nobel’s death.