Two Norwegian journalists held in Qatar, ambassador called to measure

Police in Qatar have arrested two Norwegian journalists and held for more than thirty hours. Their employer, the Norwegian public broadcaster NRK, has announced that. The Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs has called the Qatari ambassador to explain the arrests, reports NRK.

The two wanted to report on the working conditions of migrant workers prior to the Football World Cup. Before that, they were in a migrant labor camp. The images of that report were deleted.

The authorities in Qatar accused Halvor Ekeland and Lokman Ghorbani of โ€œbeing on private property and filming there without a licenseโ€. The two are now back in Norway, but their equipment has been seized. It is not clear if they had to leave the country forcibly. โ€œWe are especially happy and relieved that they are both safe at home,โ€ says NRK head Eriksen.

โ€œThe arrest of NRK journalists is unacceptable. A free press is crucial for a functioning democracy,โ€ tweeted the Norwegian Prime Minister Store. โ€œThis also demonstrates the importance of awarding the Nobel Peace Prize to journalists.โ€ He says he was happy with the release of the two reporters.

Sports journalist Ekeland and photographer Ghorbani told their employer not to leave with their equipment. Previously, other journalists encountered similar problems in autocratic Qatar. Strict rules governing freedom of expression apply in the country. Journalists must have prior permission from the government to be allowed to film somewhere.

The authorities in Qatar stated that the two were arrested after a complaint came in from a landowner in an industrial area where work camps lie. Who said the journalists were at a trespassing.

‘Conscientiously violate the law’

โ€œJust like in any other country, breach of house peace is contrary to Qatari law. The team was fully aware of that before they entered the grounds,โ€ the authorities say. Qatar government says the images the two made were removed โ€œin accordance with the lawโ€.

According to Qatar, the two had โ€œreceived all the permits they had requested in advanceโ€. It is unclear whether they received a permit for the specific location. โ€œIn addition, they were given the opportunity to meet members of the government. But these freedoms do not detract from the law that the team deliberately and deliberately violated.โ€

The country is under fire because of the working conditions of foreign migrant workers who are building the stadiums for the World Cup of Football to be held at the end of next year. At the beginning of this year, The Guardian wrote that 6500 migrants have died up until then. The newspaper did this based on government sources from five Asian countries where the migrants come from.

Amnesty International reported in 2016 that migrant workers are being exploited on a large scale in Qatar. For example, they were placed in dirty, small shelters and received less salary than promised.

Last year Nieuwsuur made this report about the training camp of Ajax and PSV in Qatar. The two top clubs then said that football and politics have nothing to do with each other. Human Rights Watch called that naive.