The Guardian Names Edward Snowden Person of the Year

Edward Snowden

The American whistleblower was the overwhelming favorite for the honor, as voted on by readers of the British newspaper.

The Guardian newspaper has named U.S. whistleblower Edward Snowden its person of the year.

Snowden won the honor, voted on by Guardian readers, with 1,445 votes, more than 40 percent of the total. A distant second, with 314 votes, were Marco Weber and Sini Saarela, the Greenpeace activists who staged the oil rig protest over Russian Arctic drilling. Pope Francis was third with 153 votes.

This was the second year running that The Guardian's top newsmaker honor went to an American whistleblower. Chelsea Manning, who was given a 35-year jail sentence in July for violations of the Espionage Act and other offenses connected to his leaking of classified documents to WikiLeaks, was The Guardian's Person of the Year 2012.

Snowden's revelations about the NSA's extensive programs of telephone and Internet surveillance has been front page news for The Guardian for months. The left-of-center newspaper was itself a key player in the revelations. In May, after leaving the U.S. for Hong Kong, Snowden met with Guardian journalists Glenn Greenwald and Ewen MacAskill to hand over the documents that exposed the NSA programs. Snowden then went into exile, eventually seeking asylum in Russia.

The Guardian said its readers were impressed by "his personal sacrifice, as much as his revelations."