Danish broadcasters threatened by Qatari officials ahead of 2022 World Cup
Qatari officials threatened to break the TV2 crew’s camera as they broadcast live from Doha days before the 2022 World Cup starts
It won’t have escaped your notice that FIFA has come under fierce criticism for choosing Qatar as hosts of the 2022 World Cup. The nation’s human rights record, suppression of dissent, persecution of LGBTQ people and mistreatment of migrant workers are among a number of issues that have been highlighted by protestors against Qatar’s suitability as World Cup host.
With the tournament just days away, players, managers, federation presidents, broadcasters, sponsors and more have already jetted into the Arab state and further controversies have started to arise. On Tuesday, beer brand Budweiser, who have paid around $75m to sponsor the World Cup, were informed that the highest echelons of the Qatar state had decided that their beer stations be moved to less prominent locations. Alcohol is ‘controlled’ rather than ‘banned’ in Qatar.
Later the same day, a broadcast by Danish television channel TV2 was interrupted by Qatar officials as correspondent Rasmus Tantholdt reported from Doha back to his studio in Odense. Tandthold is stopped mid-conversation and his crew are ordered to immediately stop filming.
Tandthold rebels, “Mister, you invited the whole world to come here. Why can’t we film? It’s a public place.”
He then goes on to show accreditation, which grants film crews permission to record.
“This is the accreditation. We can film anywhere we want.”
As the security agents are away from the microphone, their interjections are unintelligible but Tandtholt’s response makes it clear that the Danish crew were threatened with violence.
“You can break the camera. You want to break the camera? OK, you break the camera. So you are threatening us by smashing the camera.”
Both Tandtholt and Sky News sports correspondent Rob Harris later confirmed that the Qatar International Media Office and the Qatar Supreme Committee had offered an apology.
“Tournament organisers are aware of an incident where a Danish broadcast crew were mistakenly interrupted during a live broadcast in one of Qatar’s tourist destinations.
Upon inspection of the crew’s valid tournament accreditation and filming permit, an apology was made to the broadcaster by on-site security before the crew resumed their activity. Tournament organisers have since spoken to the journalist and issued an advisory to all entities to respect the filming permits in place for the tournament.”
This particular issue seems to have been resolved but, as Tandtholt says in the above tweet, will it happen to other media as well?