WikiLeaks and the Internet are among the 241 nominees for the 2011 Nobel Peace Prize.
The Nobel nomination comes as Julian Assange, the spokesman for the secret-sharing site, is facing possible extradition to Sweden on sex-related charges, and a criminal probe on likely espionage charges is underway in the Washington, D.C., area.
Nominations for the Nobel Peace Prize may come from any professor of "social sciences, history, philosophy, law and theology," in addition to national governments and former Nobel Peace Prize recipients, under the rules of the Norwegian Nobel Committee.
Previous Nobel Peace Prize winners have included Barack Obama, Jimmy Carter, the United Nations and Kofi Annan, Al Gore, Desmond Tutu, and Henry Kissinger. They're awarded by a committee composed of current and former Norwegian government officials.
The committee doesn't announce nominees, but individuals who have submitted suggestions are free to disclose them.
"Looking at the long term, we can say interest in the prize is strong and growing along with the number of candidates," Geir Lundestad, a non-voting member of the Nobel panel, told Reuters. The winners will be announced in October.
One reason the Internet may have been nominated is the role it played in catalyzing revolts in Libya, Tunisia, and Egypt. Activists coordinated protests using Facebook and instant messaging services, and filed dispatches with YouTube and Twitter, leading to a complete disconnect in Egypt and severe disruptions in Libya.