Norway journalists arrested while working in World Cup host Qatar

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Two journalists for Norwegian state television were arrested and held in Qatar for more than 30 hours reporting on the World Cup, the network NRK said on Wednesday.

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Halvor Eckland and Lokman Ghorbani, who NRK Said that the World Cup 2022 host country, which marked a year before football’s biggest tournament, was reportedly detained at their hotel after reporting on the condition of migrant laborers .

The arrest threatened to become a diplomatic incident as Norwegian Prime Minister Jonas Gahr Storey tweeted that “the arrest of NRK journalists in Qatar is unacceptable. A free press is vital to an active democracy”.


Qatar’s government said the couple had been arrested on charges of trespassing.

He was detained on Sunday night and released on Tuesday. The pair – Ekland is a writer and Ghorbani, a photographer – are now back in Europe.

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Ekland told the Norwegian tabloid VG That they were happy at home and that “we’ve had a tough time”.

journalists told NRK that they were not allowed to go with their equipment. The Norwegian Union of Journalists criticized the arrest of the journalists.

The pairing was due to interview Abdullah Ibais, a former World Cup organizing committee worker in Qatar, who is currently in prison on charges of misappropriation of funds and bribery. Ibais says he has been imprisoned for publicly criticizing the behavior of workers in Qatar.

The Norwegian is not the first journalist to be arrested while visiting Qatar.

In 2015, a BBC The journalist was also held for trespassing after being invited to the Gulf State to report on the workers’ condition.

The 2022 World Cup is starting from 21st November next year. Ceremonies were held in Doha over the weekend to mark the countdown, which was attended by various celebrities including David Beckham, who is believed to have signed a deal to be an ambassador for the World Cup.

Qatar has come under intense global scrutiny after it was controversially chosen by FIFA to host the World Cup.

It has faced allegations of corruption surrounding its winning bid – a claim Doha denies – as well as wholesale criticism of its treatment of nearly two million migrant workers, helping the country prepare for next year’s tournament. Is.

Norway has been one of the biggest critics of the decision to award the World Cup to the wealthy Gulf state and even spoke of boycotting the event, but its national team pulled out of the tournament at the qualifying stage. .

A statement from Qatar’s government communications office said the journalists were “detained for trespassing on private property and filming without a permit”.


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