Government Communications Office statement in response to the NRK incident
An NRK crew were taken into custody in the early hours of 22 November for trespassing on private property and filming without a permit. The authorities arrested the crew after responding to a complaint made by the owner of the private property on which the crew had illegally accessed. The crew were released without charge early on 23 November after completing the necessary legal procedures. The Norwegian embassy and NRK executives were updated on the situation as it progressed.
As in almost every country, trespassing is against Qatari law, which the crew members were fully aware of before entering the property. The crew were given access to film wherever they wanted in Qatar. They were provided with all the filming permits they had requested prior to their arrival and were offered meetings with senior government and third-party officials. These freedoms, however, do not override the rule of law, which the crew knowingly and wilfully violated. As a result of these violations, the crew were temporarily 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. No journalist has ever been detained when Qatar’s laws have been respected.