Obama’s shock Nobel win divides press across world

PARIS: The world’s media were divided today after the shock award of the Nobel Peace Prize to President Barack Obama, with some calling it a victory for ideals and others condemning it as deeply politicised.

The prize-giving committee in Oslo named Obama the winner of the prestigious prize on Friday, hailing

his “extraordinary” efforts

in international diplomacy and hastening nuclear


But the announcement proved as controversial as it was surprising. The Washington Post’s Dan Balz said there was amazement all around that the award

had gone to “a president still in his first year in office with no major accomplishments internationally”.

“The breadth of reaction, from exuberant gratification in some quarters to scorn and dismissal in others, underscored the political divisions over the direction of Obama’s policies and the sharply polarised impressions of his leadership,” wrote Balz.

The New York Times called it a “mixed blessing” for Obama that highlighted

“the gap between the ambitious promise of his words and his accomplishments”. It said the award further demonstrated that Obama was still celebrated as

the “anti-Bush” while in

fact he had not shifted as much as he once implied he would from the previous administration’s national security policies.

London’s Daily Telegraph said it was “one of the biggest shocks Nobel judges have ever sprung” and would also be seen as one of the most political, with nominations closing just 12 days after Obama took office.

France’s Liberation wrote that the prize was deserved “because he’s Obama, with his life symbolically on three continents (and) because his success has become synonymous with dignity and hope.” But, the editorial said, “Could a Nobel Peace Prize laureate decide to attack Iran?” India’s Tribune declared “Obama is Nobel peacemaker”.

In China the unofficial Beijing News called it “an award of encouragement”. The paper said the Nobel jury’s decision was more “symbolic” than anything else, and that it was “very clear that Obama’s ‘feats’ are still purely verbal and it will be very difficult to implement them”.

Japanese media said the award would increase

global expectations of the Obama administration,

with the mass-circulation Yomiuri Shimbun saying it was “an important task for him to achieve fruitful results from now on”.