Norwegian Broadcasting Company (NRK) journalists Halvor Ekland and Lokman Ghorbani had been arrested by police in Qatar late on Sunday, in keeping with an announcement despatched from NRK to CNN.
He was launched with out cost on Tuesday morning and flew to Norway within the early hours of Wednesday.
NRK informed CNN that Eckland and Ghorbani had been in Qatar to cowl the one-year mark forward of the FIFA World Cup 2022, and that their protection “included interviews and questions about the conditions of workers in the country.”
Ekland and Ghorbani had been detained for “encroachment on private property and filming without a permit”, in keeping with an announcement from Qatar State’s Office of Government Communications.
“After responding to a complaint made by the owner of the private property, the authorities arrested the crew at their hotel, to which the crew had illegally entered,” the assertion stated. “The crew was released without charge at the beginning of 23 November after completing the necessary legal procedures.
“As in nearly each nation, trespassing is in opposition to Qatari legislation, which the crew members had been totally conscious of earlier than getting into the property. The crew was given entry to the movie wherever they needed in Qatar. They had been supplied with all filming permits they requested. Prior to their arrival and had been supplied conferences with senior authorities and third occasion officers, nonetheless, these freedoms didn’t override the applying of widespread legislation. which was intentionally and willfully violated by the crew. As a results of these violations, the crew had been briefly detained.
“Qatar’s track record on media freedom speaks for itself. Qatar welcomes hundreds of international journalists and NGOs every year to report freely in the country. Never been taken into custody.”
NRK Director General Thor Germund Eriksson stated he disagreed with the Qatari description of the occasions.
In an announcement despatched to CNN, he stated, “NRK staff behaved in accordance with journalistic principles and ethics. We disagree with the details of the journalists’ activity in a statement published by the Qatari Government Communications Office on November 24.”
“Even if the Qatari authorities believe that the journalists broke any rules, the treatment they were treated with is not acceptable. The detention of journalists and the confiscation of all their equipment is in any case completely proportionate. It is a threat to free and independent journalism and creates a serious chilling effect for all journalists visiting Qatar.”
Ericsson called the situation “very serious”, especially as “two of our employees have been arrested and questioned in connection with their journalistic work.”
In a statement sent to CNN, FIFA said it “defends the principles of media freedom.”
A FIFA spokesman said in a statement to CNN: “We have been in regular contact with local organizers (the Supreme Committee for Delivery and Heritage) and the NRK to establish the circumstances of the detention of an NRK crew in Doha in recent days.” are in.”
“We note the statement of the Office of Government Communications in Qatar which said that the crew ‘willfully and knowingly’ violated the law by encroaching upon private property prior to their release without charge. With FIFA NRK & SC Will be in further contact with those who collaborated with the crew during their time in Doha, and provided assistance.”
“The government has been transparent about the health of our foreign population, and in fact, the death rate in Qatar is comparable to that of the broadest demographic globally. Nevertheless, improving the health and welfare of foreign workers remains a top priority,” the ministry said. added.
FIFA President Gianni Infantino told CNN that, while there is still work to be done, he has seen “great development” in the Gulf country.
“Of course, more needs to be done – obviously, it is a process. I think we can say that without the World Cup and… the headlines coming from the World Cup, the whole process would have taken a lot longer. .
“Steps have been taken, steps will be taken. I think we also need to recognize the positivity if we want to encourage those who have continued in this way, like Qatar, recognize what has been done, concrete See facts and figures make necessary criticism too, but always try to be constructive and see what has been done and what more can be done in a positive sense.”
The first World Cup to be held in winter, the 2022 version is scheduled to start in Qatar on 21 November and finish on 18 December.
Becky Thompson contributed to this report.