MANILA, Philippines – Hundreds of well-wishers took to the streets of Oslo, Norway on Friday, December 10, to join the annual torchlight parade honoring the latest recipients of the highly-coveted Nobel Peace Prize.
This year, however, participants did not bring torches with them to minimize COVID-19 risks.
The crowd marched from Oslo Central Station to the Grand Hotel to honor Maria Ressa and Dmitry Muratov, journalists who received the top distinction “for their efforts to safeguard freedom of expression, which is a precondition for democracy and lasting peace.”
Ressa and Muratov then emerged from the balcony of the Grand Hotel to greet the parade, which was organized by the Norwegian Peace Council.
Prior to the two’s appearance at the balcony, Rappler’s Patricia Evangelista delivered a speech during the torchlight walk program.
“Today, after the Nobel Peace Prize was awarded to journalists Maria Ressa and Dimitry Muratov, we celebrate a world that understands no democracy is possible when people are terrified into silence,” she said.
The torchlight procession was one of the many events for the 2021 Nobel Week, and was held just before the banquet.
Ressa and Muratov – pro-democracy icons in the Philippines and Russia – lead newsrooms that have scrutinized their respective governments, and have been on the receiving end of threats and harassment because of their work.
Ressa, the first Filipino to win the Nobel Peace Prize, is known for co-founding Rappler, a news website on the forefront of fighting disinformation on social media.
She has said that her award helped put a spotlight on the dangers journalists face in order to do their job.
“I stand before you, a representative of every journalist around the world who is forced to sacrifice so much to hold the line, to stay true to our values and mission: to bring you the truth and hold power to account,” said Ressa in her acceptance speech on Friday. – Rappler.com