After the trauma of the Charlie Hebdo shootings in Paris, champions and icons of free speech head the pack in the names put forward for this year's Nobel Peace Prize, with jailed Saudi blogger Raef Badawi and fugitive US intelligence analyst Edward Snowden among those receiving nominations.
"This year again one can see the candidates reflect the issues that dominated the news in recent months," Olav Njølstad, the Nobel Institute's new director, and also secretary of its awarding committee, told AFP.
While the official list of Nobel nominees remains a well-kept secret, those authorised to lodge nominations -- members of parliament, past Nobel laureates, academics -- can publicly announce their choices, fuelling speculation on the likely winners.
Norwegian member of parliament Michael Tetzschner, for instance, put up Danish editor Flemming Rose, who a decade before last month's slaughter of French cartoonists at Charlie Hebdo magazine triggered global protests over depictions of the Muslim prophet.
"Giving the prize to a consistent defender of freedom of expression, even at a personal cost, would give a sign that those who try to muzzle that freedom through cowardly attacks against civilians, thus undermining peace between peoples, cannot ever succeed," Tetzschner wrote in his letter to the Nobel committee, according to NTB news agency.
Rose currently serves as Jyllands-Posten’s foreign editor but was the culture editor behind the Muhammed cartoons. Since the Charlie Hebdo attacks, he has been a frequent presence in the international media speaking about his 2005 decision and threats against the freedom of speech.
"Charlie Hebdo didn't shut up... and they have now paid the highest price for that," Rose told Jyllands-Posten in the immediate aftermath of the Paris attacks.
"It sends a shiver down my spine. Thinking about the people in Paris, what they're experiencing now. In addition to shock, I'm not surprised. If you look at what's happened in Europe over the past 10 years, since Jyllands-Posten’s Muhammad cartoons were published, time after time there have been threats and even violence," he continued.
Rose has lived under police protection since the backlash against the Muhammad cartoons began.