Nobel Peace Prize winners in Norway: “It is incredibly exciting to be here”

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Nobel Peace Prize winners in Norway: “It is incredibly exciting to be here”

The two winners landed in the VIP section of Oslo Airport on Wednesday afternoon.

After a long period of uncertainty about Maria Ressa being allowed to travel to Norway to receive the Nobel Peace Prize, both she and co-winner Dmitry Muratov landed in Oslo.

“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: Harder and more dangerous to be a journalist

Ressa thanked the Philippine 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 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.

Nobel Peace Prize winners in Norway: “It is incredibly exciting to be here”

Nobel Peace Prize winner Maria Ressa meets the press at Oslo Airport Gardermoen after arriving in Norway on Wednesday afternoon. Photo: Terje Bendiksby / NTB

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 for the Nobel events.

“The last time my schedule was divided into minutes and seconds, was during the first service,” he joked.

He also paid tribute to his co-winner 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 the 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 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.

Can become a «foreign agent»

Muratov is the 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.

Scaled-down ceremony

The Nobel circus kicks off later on Wednesday at 4 pm. The “peace bench”, designed by Snøhetta, will be unveiled in front of the Nobel Peace Center. After the unveiling, there are posts from, among others, Gro Harlem Brundtland.

Due to new infection control measures in Norway as a result of the omicron variant, the traditional press conference with the peace prize winners will only be held digitally. It happens on Thursday. The actual award ceremony will probably go as planned on Friday.

The Nobel Institute is in constant contact with the health authorities in Oslo.

In 2020, all 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 receives the award on behalf of the organization.

Source: ©️ NTB Scanpix / #NorwayTodayTravel

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