The two winners landed in the VIP section of Oslo Airport on Wednesday afternoon.
Co-Nobel Peace Prize winners Dmitry Muratov and Maria Ressa have both arrived in Norway.
Ressa: Harder and more dangerous to be a journalist
After a long period of uncertainty about Ressa being allowed to travel to Norway to receive the Nobel Peace Prize, she made it.
“It is incredibly exciting to be here. It is very cold, but feels very warm,” said Ressa to the press at the airport.
She was wearing a face mask with the words “Journalism is not a crime” printed on.
Ressa thanked the Filipino authorities for allowing her to travel to Norway. It was not until Friday that it became known that an appeals court in the Philippines approved her leave.
Ressa said she believes that it has become both more difficult and more dangerous to be a journalist.
“Authoritarian leaders and budding dictators want us to voluntarily give up our rights. But then we also give up the rights of the people we serve,” she said.
After the awarding of the Peace Prize became known, both international journalism and Filipino journalism have been highlighted, she said.
“This is for our people”, said Ressa, who was, per journalists in attendance, clearly moved.
Muratov: A jam-packed schedule and Ressa on his front page
Muratov landed earlier on Wednesday, and he too stopped for a chat with the press.
He said he was horrified when he saw the packed program of Nobel events.
“The last time my schedule was divided into minutes and seconds, was during compulsory military service,” he joked.
He also paid tribute to Ressa.
“People in the journalistic community have known Ressa long before she received the award. This decision by the Nobel Committee was fabulous,” he said.
Muratov brought with him a gift to Ressa – a copy of Novaya Gazeta, the newspaper he is Editor of, from when the Peace Prize was announced.
“Guess who’s on the front page? It’s a great portrait of Maria Ressa,” he said.
Duterte threatened Ressa
Ressa runs the news service Rappler. Filipino President Rodrigo Duterte has stated that she can be killed and that he can do it himself. He said this in an interview with Ressa.
She has also been arrested several times, and in June of 2020 she was found guilty of libel against a businessman.
This verdict has been used by the Philippine authorities to prevent her from traveling abroad.
Pressure for Muratov, too
Muratov is editor-in-chief of the independent newspaper Novaya Gazeta, the only major, independent, power-critical newspaper in Russia.
He too is exposed to great pressure in his home country.
A few days after President Vladimir Putin‘s spokesman Dmitry Peskov congratulated the editor on the Peace Prize, the president himself announced that Muratov would not be shielded.
Most independent journalists in Russia have been branded as foreign agents by the authorities. The Novaya Gazeta editor has so far avoided ending up on this list.
Today’s Nobel celebrations kick off at 4 PM. The “peace bench,” designed by architecture firm Snøhetta, will be unveiled in front of the Nobel Peace Center. After the unveiling, there will be talks by, among others, Gro Harlem Brundtland.
Due to new infection control measures in Norway, the traditional press conference with the peace prize winners will only be held digitally. It happens on Thursday. The actual award ceremony will go ahead in person on Friday.
The Nobel Institute has said they are in constant contact with the Oslo health authorities.
In 2020, all Nobel celebrations were canceled, and last year’s Peace Prize will therefore also be awarded this week. It went to the World Food Program, and director David Beasley will receive the award on behalf of the organization.
Source: ©️ NTB Scanpix / #NorwayTodayTravel
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