Qatar World Cup: Norwegian Broadcasting Company criticized the treatment of its journalists, but Qatar said they had trespassed

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According to a statement sent to CNN by the Norwegian Broadcasting Corporation (NRK), Norwegian Broadcasting Corporation (NRK) reporters Halvor Ekeland and Lokman Ghorbani were arrested by the police in Qatar late Sunday night.

According to the two reporters, they were interrogated in different rooms for eight hours, one at a time. They were not abused, but they were locked up in a cell with 10-12 others and forced to share in an Arab Sign the document. Can’t understand.

They were released for free in the early hours of Tuesday morning and flew back to Norway in the early hours of Wednesday.

NRK told CNN that Ekeland and Ghorbani reported on the year before the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar, and their report “includes interviews and questions about the situation of workers in the country.”

According to a statement from the Government Communications Office of the State of Qatar, Ekeland and Ghorbani were detained for “breaking into private property without permission and filming without permission”.

The statement said: “The authorities arrested the crew at their hotel after responding to a complaint from the owner of the private property that the crew entered illegally.” “After completing the necessary legal procedures, the crew was arrested early on November 23. Free release.

“As in almost every country, trespassing is a violation of Qatar law, and the crew fully understands this before entering the property. The crew can watch the film anywhere in Qatar. They obtained all the filming permits they requested before they arrived. , And was offered to meet with senior government officials and third-party officials. However, these freedoms do not override the application of common law. The crew knowingly and deliberately violated the common law. Due to these violations, the crew was temporarily detained.

“Qatar’s record on media freedom speaks for itself. Qatar welcomes hundreds of international journalists and NGOs to report freely in the country every year. No journalist has ever been detained while Qatar’s laws are respected.”

NRK Director General Thor Gjermund Eriksen (Thor Gjermund Eriksen) said he disagrees with Qatar’s description of the incident.

“The behavior of NRK employees is in full compliance with the principles and ethics of journalism. We disagree with the description of journalists’ activities in the statement issued by the Qatar Government Communications Office on November 24,” he said in a statement sent to CNN.

“Even if the Qatari authorities believe that journalists have violated any regulations, the treatment they receive is unacceptable. In any case, the detention of journalists and the confiscation of all their equipment are completely disproportionate. This threatens free and independent journalism and opposition. All reporters visiting Qatar caused a serious chilling effect.”

Erickson continued to call the situation “very serious”, especially “two of our employees were arrested and interrogated for journalism.”

FIFA said in a statement to CNN that it “defends the principle of media freedom.”

A FIFA spokesperson told CNN in a statement: “We have been in regular contact with local organizers (Supreme Committee for Delivery and Heritage) and NRK to determine the detention of NRK staff in Doha in recent days. .”

On November 24, Ghorbani (far left) and Ekeland (second from left) talked with the media in Oslo with NRK Sports Director Egil Sundvor and NRK Thor Gjermund Eriksen’s Broadcast Director.

“We have taken note of the statement of the Government Communications Office of Qatar, which stated that the crew members’knowingly and deliberately’ violated the law by breaking into private property before they were released for free. FIFA will maintain further contact with NRK and SC and they will cooperate Stay with the crew and assist them while in Doha.”

Last week, the International Labor Organization (ILO) reported that at least 50 workers in Qatar had died in 2020, and pointed out that the country’s investigation of these workplace deaths was insufficient. NGOs claim that migrant workers involved in World Cup infrastructure projects have been abused and abused.
The Ministry of Labor of Qatar said in a statement that “the death toll of migrant workers reported by the media is extremely misleading.”

“The government has always been transparent about the health of our foreign population. In fact, the death rate in Qatar is comparable to the broader demographics of the world. However, improving the health and well-being of foreign workers remains a top priority,” the ministry added.

FIFA President Gianni Infantino told CNN that although there is still work to be done, he has seen “great progress” in this Gulf country.

Infantino told Amanda Davis of CNN Sports: “I have seen the tremendous changes in Qatar, and this is recognized-I don’t mean FIFA-but unions and international organizations around the world. .”
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“Of course, more work needs to be done-obviously, this is a process. I think we can say that without the World Cup and… the spotlight from the World Cup, the whole process will take more time.

“Measures have been taken, and measures will be taken. I think if we want to encourage those who accept Qatar’s approach to continue this approach, acknowledge what has been done, and look at specific things, we also need to recognize positive On the one hand, the facts and data have also made necessary criticisms, but always try to be constructive, looking at what has been done in a positive sense, and what can be done more.”

The 2022 World Cup will open in Qatar on November 21 and end on December 18. This is the first time in history that the World Cup will be held in winter.

Becky Thompson contributed to this report.

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