Reputation of Nobel Prize at stake as Swedish Academy row escalates

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Stockholm, April 12 (IANS) The Nobel Foundation on Wednesday warned that the international reputation of the Nobel Prize may be at stake after a series of rows that have rocked the Swedish Academy, the body that awards the Nobel Prize in literature.

In a press release issued on Wednesday, the Nobel Foundation stated that its board members had met to discuss the latest developments, which includes three Academy members announcing on Friday that they would to step down — a move that has shocked the literary and cultural world, reports Xinhua.

“It is unavoidable that a difficult crisis within a prize-awarding institution also damages the Nobel Prize’s reputation. We can establish that confidence in the Swedish Academy has been severely broken. The way in which what is now happening will come to harm the Nobel Prize cannot yet be fully assessed,” the statement said.

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The three Academy members chose to step down after a majority of members voted not to exclude a member whose husband has been accused of sexual harassment and of exerting influence over the Academy as well as of allegedly leaking the names of a number of literature laureates in the past.

On Wednesday, the remaining Academy members held a crisis meeting to decide how to move forward after days of bitter wars of words in the Swedish media, with many literary figures weighing in on the infected debate.

In its statement, the Nobel Foundation mentioned a number of suggested measures that it deems are needed in order both to restore trust in the Swedish Academy, to protect the reputation of the Nobel Prize, and to ensure that the work to select this year’s Nobel literature laureate is carried out in a credible way.

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Any breaches of secrecy and conflicts of interest must be dealt with in accordance with internal regulations, the statement said, and any suspected crimes should be handled by legal recourse.

–IANS

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