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PM Narendra Modi is not the top contender for Nobel Peace Prize

A false statement was attributed to the deputy chair of the 2022 Norwegian Nobel Committee

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Claim: Asle Toje, the deputy chair of the 2022 Norwegian Nobel Committee, has said that Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi is the biggest contender for the Nobel Peace Prize.

Fact: While Toje praised India and Modi in different interviews, he did not endorse the Indian prime minister as the biggest contender for the Nobel Peace Prize. The Nobel Committee has a secrecy rule in place about the details of the nominees.

Fact or Fiction?

On 16 March 2023, Twitter user @chellam_sir_op posted a clip of a Times Now bulletin claiming that Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi is the biggest contender for the Nobel Peace Prize. 

He also claimed that the Deputy Chair of the Norwegian Nobel Committee said that Modi is the “Most reliable face of peace.”

The clip shows a news anchor saying that “the deputy leader of the Nobel Peace Prize Committee, Asle Toje, has said that Prime Minister Modi is the biggest contender for the Nobel Peace Prize. 

Soch Fact Check found the claim to be false after coming across an interview of Toje with Indian news agency ANI News in which he said,  ”…A fake news tweet was sent out. I think we should treat it as more ALL fake news. It is fake, let’s not discuss it or give it energy or air or oxygen. I categorically deny that I said anything resembling what was in that tweet.”

During his interview, he also said, “I am not in India as Deputy leader of the Norwegian Nobel Committee; I am here as a Director of International peace and understanding and as a friend of India.”

In the original clip played by Times Now on screen, Toje can be heard saying the following at the 00:30 mark:

 “[The] Prime Minister has intervened on a positive note in the Ukraine crisis warning Russia against using nuclear weapons and obviously I am very happy to see that. I think any responsible leader in the world should give this message and it’s all the more important when it comes from a powerful country like India. Modi has been prime minister for some years now and he is one of the elder statesmen of this world and I think that lends it great credibility and it’s interesting to see that India that has in a record time gone from being a developing country to becoming one of the primary economies of this world. India is taken more seriously and when India speaks, it tends to be with a friendly voice and without threats.”

Soch Fact Check also sifted through an interview Toje gave to another outlet, ABP News. Responding to the journalist’s question, Toje said, “Well, you are asking whether he is a candidate for the Nobel Peace Prize. The thing is, I have the same answer to anybody. My answer is that I hope that every leader of every nation will be inspired to do the work that is necessary to be awarded the Nobel Peace Prize, and I hope that for Prime Minister Modi, obviously I am following his efforts, we all are and I really hope that his initiatives will come to fruition.”

The Nobel Committee itself does not announce the names of nominees, neither to the media nor to the candidates themselves; the official website of the Nobel Prize states that “Neither the names of nominators nor of nominees for the Nobel Peace Prize may be divulged until 50 years have elapsed.”

Virality:

Soch Fact Check found the claim was shared by multiple outlets, including CNBC TV18, OpIndia, WION, Live Mint and others. 

The claim was found here, here, here, here, here and here on Twitter. 

Conclusion: Toje did not say Modi is the top contender for the Nobel Peace Prize but, in fact, said that a tweet stating so is fake.

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