Wife of jailed Belarusian Nobel winner to accept his award in Oslo

The wife of jailed Belarusian activist Ales Bialiatski, one of this year's Nobel Peace Prize winners, will accept the award on his behalf at the upcoming ceremony, organisers said Friday.

Nobel Peace Prize
Photo by Alexander Mahmoud / Nobel Peace Prize / Press

Bialiatski, 60, won the prestigious prize in October together with Russian rights group Memorial and Ukraine’s Center for Civil Liberties, which is documenting “Russian war crimes” against the Ukrainian people.

The prize will be presented to the trio at a formal ceremony in Oslo on December 10th.

Bialiatski was jailed after large-scale demonstrations against the regime in 2020, when Belarus’ authoritarian President Alexander Lukashenko claimed victory in elections the international community deemed fraudulent.

His wife, Natalia Pinchuk, will represent him in Norway.

“We are very happy that she has gotten out of Belarus and everything is arranged for her to be able to participate in the (Nobel) ceremony at Oslo City Hall on December 10”, the head of the Nobel Institute, Olav Njolstad, told AFP in an email.

Memorial will be represented by its chairman Yan Rachinsky and the CCL by its director Oleskandra Matviychuk, the institute said.

A highly symbolic choice for this year’s prize, the trio represent the three nations at the centre of the war in Ukraine, which has plunged Europe into its worst security crisis since World War II.

The committee said it honoured the three for their struggle for “human rights, democracy and peaceful co-existence in the neighbour countries Belarus, Russia and Ukraine”.

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Norwegian government bans ministers and officials from using TikTok

No Norwegian ministers, state secretaries or political advisers will not be permitted to use either TikTok or Telegram on official work phones, tablets and devices, the Norwegian governemnt said Tuesday.

Norwegian government bans ministers and officials from using TikTok

The recommendation, which follows similar moves and bans in a number of Western countries, was based on espionage fears and also applies to the encrypted Russian messaging app Telegram.

“In their risk assessments … the Norwegian intelligence services single out Russia and China as the main risk factors for Norway’s security interests,” Justice Minister Emilie Enger Mehl said in a statement.

“They also single out social media as a forum favoured by potentially dangerous actors and others who want to influence us with disinformation and fake news,” she said.

The recommendation applies to all work devices used by government officials and which are connected to the government’s digital systems.

The youngest member of the government, 29-year-old Mehl found herself at the centre of a media frenzy last year after she admitted, after a long silence amid suspicions about the app, that she had installed TikTok on herĀ  work phone.

She stressed she had deleted it a month later. She said she had used it because she needed to reach a young audience — the main users of the app.

Government employees can still use TikTok and Telegram if necessary for professional reasons, but on devices that not are not connected to the government’s digital systems, the ministry said.

Governments in Britain, the United States and the European Commission have banned TikTok on work devices. TikTok acknowledged in November that some employees in China could access European user data and admitted in December that employees had used the data to spy on journalists.

The group has however insisted that the Chinese government has no control over or access to its data.