Norway slams Qatar over journalists’ arrest

Norwegian Prime Minister Jonas Gahr Støre criticized the arrest of two Norwegian journalists in Qatar, where they were covering labor issues around the 2022 FIFA World Cup.

“The arrest of NRK’s journalists in Qatar is unacceptable,” tweeted Gahr Støre on Wednesday, as Halvor Ekeland and Lokman Ghorbani from the Norwegian broadcaster NRK landed in Oslo after being detained in the Gulf state for more than 30 hours.

The two journalists were freed without charge after their detention by security forces. Their footage of a migrant labor camp, highlighting worker issues ahead of next year’s World Cup, was deleted, said Qatari authorities according to Associated Press.

“A free press is crucial to a functioning democracy,” Gahr Støre said.

Qatar’s government had accused the NRK journalists of “trespassing on private property and filming without permit.”

That got a terse response from NRK’s chief, Thor Gjermund Eriksen. “They had gotten all the permissions needed to conduct interviews,” he hit back.

Qatar’s hosting of the World Cup has drawn the ire of Human Rights Watch and the International Trade Union Confederation over the treatment of migrants hired to build the tournament’s infrastructure.



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