Assange, pictured, is currently free on bail in Britain, while he fights extradition to Sweden [Reuters]

Whistleblowing website WikiLeaks has been nominated for the 2011 Nobel Peace Prize, the Norwegian
politician behind the proposal said, a day after the deadline for nominations expired.

Snorre Valen on Wednesday said that the whistleblowing website was one of the most important contributors to freedom of speech in the 21st century.

Valen said that by disclosing information about corruption, human rights abuses and war crimes, WikiLeaks was a "natural contender" for the peace prize.

WikiLeaks, founded by Australian Julian Assange, has released hundreds of thousands of classified documents leaked to the website. The documents have included thousands of classified US diplomatic cables, as well as confidential material on the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Members of parliament from all nations, political science and law professors, and previous winners may all submit nominations to the Nobel Peace Prize.

Awarding WikiLeaks the prize would likely provoke criticism of the Nobel Committee, which has courted controversy with its two most recent choices, jailed Chinese pro-democracy activist Liu Xiaobo and US President Barack Obama a few months after his election.

Assange is currently free on bail in Britain, while he fights extradition to Sweden for questioning on charges of sexual misconduct.

Source: Agencies