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2022 World Cup: outcry in Norway after the arrest of two journalists in Qatar


Norwegian political and sports authorities revolt after the temporary detention of two journalists earlier this week in Qat

The tension is growing.

Norway summoned the Qatari ambassador to Oslo on Wednesday after the temporary detention in the emirate of two Norwegian television reporters who documented the controversial preparations for the next World Cup.

According to their employer, the public channel NRK, Halvor Ekeland and Lokman Ghorbani were arrested, without explanation, shortly before their departure from Doha on the night of Sunday to Monday, one year to the day before the start of the competition ( November 21 to December 18, 2022).

They were released after about thirty hours, without any charge being brought against them, and landed this Wednesday morning in Oslo. The Norwegian Foreign Ministry said it had summoned the Qatari ambassador to Oslo to discuss the situation of the two reporters. "The arrest of NRK journalists in Qatar is unacceptable," Norwegian Prime Minister Jonas Gahr Støre said on Twitter. A free press is crucial for a functioning democracy. "

In Qatar, the authorities for their part claimed that the two journalists had been indicted for an unauthorized trespass on private property.

"The team was allowed to film wherever they wanted in Qatar," they said in a statement.

They were given all the filming permits they had applied for prior to their arrival and offered to meet with senior government officials and third parties.

However, these freedoms do not prevail over the application of common law, which the team knowingly and willfully violated.


Read also 2022 World Cup: number of dead, new laws and minimum wage ... in Qatar, sites of discord

According to cameraman Lokman Ghorbani, the journalists' equipment was seized and they had to show "for hours" the recordings made. “Everyone was intrigued by the equipment, the mission, why we were there, what it was to be used for, how many reports we had done,” he testified at a press conference in Oslo. NRK's ​​sports editor, Egil Sundvor, said it was “worrying” that the Qatari authorities were able to take cognizance of the sources questioned by the team. The boss of the channel, Thor Gjermund Eriksen, denounced him an "attack on the freedom of the press".

Already critical when the World Cup was awarded to Qatar, the Nordic countries are at the forefront of international pressure aimed at improving the working conditions of migrant workers in the emirate. NGO reports accuse Qatar of exploiting foreign workers, especially in the construction of stadiums for the next World Cup. The country vigorously rejects these criticisms, stressing that it has reformed its labor law and introduced a minimum wage.

Norwegian Olympic Committee President Berit Kjøll described the information about the arrests as "shocking and totally unacceptable".

"We must put an end to the attribution of major sports competitions to countries which do not respect freedom of the press and freedom of expression," she said in a statement.

The idea of ​​a boycott of the World Cup for a time had the wind in its sails in the Nordic country but a vote in the Norwegian Football Federation had finally ruled out this possibility in June.

Third in Group G behind the Netherlands and Turkey, the Norwegian selection ultimately did not win its qualification ticket.

Source: leparis

All sports articles on 2021-11-24

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