Oslo: Norway summoned Qatar’s ambassador on Wednesday to discuss the arrests of two Norwegian TV reporters in Doha where they were covering preparations and controversies around the 2022 World Cup.
Their employer, public broadcaster NRK, said Halvor Ekeland and Lokman Ghorbani were arrested without any explanation on Sunday night, just before their flight home. The detention came exactly a year ahead of the opening of the tournament which is due to get underway in the wealthy Gulf emirate on November 21, 2022.
They were freed without charge after around 30 hours and landed in Oslo on Wednesday morning. Norway’s foreign ministry said that Qatar’s envoy to Oslo was summoned to discuss the case of the reporters.
“The arrest of NRK journalists in Qatar is unacceptable,” said Norwegian Prime Minister Jonas Gahr Store. “A free press is crucial for a functioning democracy,” he wrote on Twitter. “I am very glad Halvor Ekeland and Lokman Ghorbani have now been released.”
Store added that the affair highlighted the importance of this year’s award of the Nobel Peace Prize to campaigning journalists Dmitry Muratov of Russia and Maria Ressa of the Philippines. Qatari officials confirmed that two journalists were arrested for trespassing on private property.
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