A social media post attributing viral statements on PM Modi to Asle Toje, deputy leader of the Nobel Prize Committee is being widely shared. The post claims that “Asle Toje observed that PM Modi is the biggest contender for the Nobel Peace Prize”. Let’s fact-check the claim made in the post.
Claim: PM Modi is the biggest contender for the Nobel Peace Prize – Asle Toje
Fact: Asle Toje during his interactions with Indian media agencies showered high praise for India and PM Modi in particular. However, he did not endorse Modi, as the top contender for Nobel Peace prize, as claimed by multiple media agencies. Further, the Nobel prize statutes enforce secrecy with respect to the details of nominations and nominees. Hence the claim made in the post is FALSE.
Asle Toje, deputy leader of the Nobel Peace Prize Committee, is on his India tour. Toje attended a roundtable discussion on “Alternative Development Model & Peace”, organised by India Center Foundation at the India International Center (IIC) in New Delhi on 14 March 2023.
In this conference, Toje spoke about global peace, against the backdrop of the ongoing Russia-Ukraine conflict. Following the conference, he interacted with multiple news agencies.
During his interactions with media, Toje took high praise for India and PM Modi in particular. He further went on to praise PM Modi for his intervention in stopping Russia from using nuclear weapons, during ongoing Russia-Ukraine war.
Following his praise for Modi, multiple prominent news agencies shared articles attributing the viral statements to him. News agencies like Hindustan Times, Economic Times, TOI, ABP, CNBC, WION, Mint, ZEE, ABN, Jagran, ASIANET shared article attributing such a statement to Asle Toje.
Further, ABP went on to run a TV debate, on the prospects of Modi winning a Nobel peace prize, in the backdrop of Asle Toje’s alleged statements.
Did Asle Toje endorse Modi as top contender for Noble Prize?
However, neither in his talk at the IIC nor during any of his interviews to Indian media agencies, he explicitly affirmed Modi as the top contender for the Nobel Peace Prize.
In fact, during one of his media interactions, when he was categorically asked about Modi’s prospects of becoming Nobel peace ambassador, Toje reply’s saying “well, I think, any leader in the world should aspire to receive the Nobel Peace Prize, any leader should try to do enough for peace in the world to deserve this award, but the world comes first, and award comes next.”
What does the Nobel Prize rules stipulate?
It is also noteworthy to mention that the statutes of the Nobel Peace Prize enforce secrecy with respect to the details of the prospective candidates. Generally, the details of the nominees and nominators are not revealed until after 50 years. And this restriction applies even to the investigations and opinions related to the award of a prize.
Further, the website of the Nobel Prize rules out the speculations with respect to any contender, as sheer guess work. The website categorically states that “the committee does not itself announce the names of nominees, neither to the media nor to the candidates themselves. In so far as certain names crop up in the advance speculations as to who will be awarded any given year’s prize, this is either sheer guesswork or information put out by the person or persons behind the nomination. Information in the Nobel Committee’s nomination database is not made public until after fifty years.”
Detailed statutes of the Nobel foundation can be viewed here & here. Considering this statute, it is highly unlikely that Asle Toje being the ‘Deputy Leader of the Norwegian Nobel Committee’ makes such speculative statements about PM Modi being a top contender for the Nobel Peace Prize.
Thus, in this context, all the media reports in this regard could be regarded as an exaggerated interpretation of Toje’s statements.
Business Standard published an article stating that Asle Toje while speaking to news agency ANI had denied the claims made by the media that he referred to PM Modi as the biggest contender for the Nobel Peace Prize. Factly had written to Asle Toje seeking clarifications on these reports, and this article will be updated once he responds.
To sum it up, Asle Toje did not endorse Modi as the top contender for Nobel Peace Prize.