Norway is outraged by the detention of two of its journalists in Qatar

Norwegian public broadcaster NRK reported that its journalists Halvor Ekeland and Locman Ghorbani were arrested late Sunday night, just before the flight home, without any explanation.

Journalists were arrested just a year before the championship, which is set to begin on November 21, 2022, in this rich Gulf state.

After about 30 hours, Elkland and Ghorbani were released and flew back to Oslo on Wednesday morning.

“The detention of NRK journalists in Qatar is unacceptable,” said Prime Minister John Gahr Store.

“Free media is vital to democracy,” the prime minister wrote on Twitter.

“I am very pleased that Halvor Ekeland and Locman Ghorbani have already been released,” he said.

JGStore added that the incident highlighted the importance of the decision to award this year’s Nobel Peace Prize to journalists Dmitry Muratov of Russia and Maria Ressa of the Philippines.

Qatari officials have confirmed that two journalists have been detained for entering private territory.

“The team has been allowed to film in Qatar wherever they want,” a Qatari government liaison office said in a statement.

“Prior to their arrival, they were granted all the filming permits they had requested and offered to meet with senior government and third-country officials,” the report said.

“However, these freedoms do not take precedence over a common right that the team has intentionally and knowingly violated,” he added.

Norway and other Nordic countries have strongly criticized the decision to give Qatar the right to host the 2022 World Cup and continue to urge it to improve the well-being of its workers.

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Human rights organizations accuse Qatar of exploiting migrants as cheap labor through mega-projects for the World Cup.

The party strongly rejects such allegations and claims to have changed its labor laws and set a non-discriminatory minimum wage of around € 1.16 per hour.

Berit Kjoll, president of the Norwegian Olympic Committee, called the arrest of journalists “shocking and completely unacceptable”.

“We must stop holding important sporting events for countries that do not respect media and freedom of expression,” she said.

Norway initially considered boycotting the World Cup in Qatar, but the idea was abandoned after a vote in June.

Finally, the Norwegian national team took third place in Group G of the World Cup, beating the Dutch and Turks, without securing a place.


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