In another worrying sign of potential trouble at the World Cup in Qatar, local officials threatened on live television to break the cameras of a Danish television news crew covering the upcoming event.
Qatar’s World Cup organizers later apologized to Danish broadcaster TV2 after they claimed reporters were being broadcast live from a Doha street where angry officials on Wednesday threatened to destroy their cameras after blocking the lens with their hands. “Accidentally” terminated.
“Sir, you invited the whole world to come here,” TV2 reporter Rasmus Tannholt responded as the police took action. Why can’t we film? This is a public place.”
He added: You can break the camera. do you want to break Are you threatening us by breaking the camera?”
Tanholt can be seen on camera showing various crew license documents to the authorities, but they argue with him.
Qatari officials later said in a statement: “After inspecting valid tournament credentials and filming permits, the broadcaster was apologized to by on-site security forces before the crew resumed operations,” Qatari officials later said in a statement.
Tanholt didn’t seem reassured by the apology, and wondered if other media outlets would be attacked for the simple reporting.
TV2 said on its website: “The team was expressly told that if they did not stop filming, their cameras would be destroyed.” “This is despite the TV2 team obtaining the correct credentials and reporting from a public location.”
It is not clear why the crew was stopped as Qatari officials are trying to describe the clash as nothing more than a misunderstanding.
It is just the latest shock in the controversy over Qatar’s controversial choice to host the World Cup in 2010. The US Department of Justice has accused this country of paying huge bribes to the officials of the International Football Federation, FIFA, to be the host this year.
At the time of selection, the country had no football heritage, no stadiums capable of hosting international matches, and the weather was so hot during regular matches that the schedule of football leagues around the world changed to accommodate Qatar’s climate.
The most fundamental concerns involved rewarding a country with gross human rights abuses, particularly involving migrant workers who run the country. Thousands of migrant workers have died in Qatar over the past 10 years, many in construction accidents – or from heatstroke – on World Cup-related projects.
Among other rights violations, homosexuality is illegal in the country and punishable by death, according to the Human Dignity Trust, a global LGBT rights group.
But public displays of affection are also frowned upon for people who are heterosexual, and women are expected to dress modestly and be around husbands, not boyfriends. According to news reports, women who go to the police to report sexual violence can be flogged for having illicit sex.
Alcohol consumption during the event will be heavily restricted in the Muslim-majority country, significantly affecting another aspect of the typical World Cup fan experience.
The British are so concerned about potential trouble between officials and fans that they are deploying a crew of special “engagement officers” to protect citizens from over-policing Qatar.
Officials have given little peace to the scared fans.
While “holding hands” may be allowed in public, Qatar’s ambassador to the UK, Fahd bin Mohammed al-Attiyah, said in a recent London Times radio interview that he could not guarantee that anything else would be acceptable.
“I think you have to be careful about the norms and cultures of the Qatari society,” he warned.
Fans around the world are boycotting the event and several teams have organized protests against Qatar’s human rights abuses. The Danish team will wear black shirts as part of their kit to “mourn” the thousands of migrant workers who died building stadiums and other facilities for the World Cup.