Qatar Authorities Threaten To Smash Camera Of World Cup News Crew On Live TV

In another worrying sign of potential trouble at the Qatar World Cup, local authorities threatened on live television to smash the camera of a Danish TV crew covering the upcoming event.

Qatar’s World Cup organizers later apologized to Danish broadcaster TV2 after claiming journalists had “accidentally interrupted” a live broadcast from a Doha street, where angry authorities on Wednesday threatened to destroy their camera after first covering the lens with their hands.

TV2 reporter Rasmus Tanholdt hit back during the police action: “Sir, you have invited the whole world to come here. Why can’t we make a movie? It is a public space.”

He added: “You can break the camera. Do you want to break it? Are you threatening us by breaking the camera?”

Tanholdt can be seen on camera showing authorities the crew’s various license papers, but they disagree with him.

Qatari officials later said in a statement: “After inspecting the crew’s valid tournament accreditation and filming permit, the broadcaster was apologized to by on-site security before the crew resumed operations,” the Associated Press reported.

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Tanholdt did not seem reassured by the apology and wondered if other media outlets would also be attacked for simply reporting.

“The team was told directly that if they did not stop filming, their cameras would be destroyed,” TV2 said on its website. “This is despite the TV2 team having obtained the correct credentials and reporting from a public venue.”

It was unclear why the crew was grounded, with Qatari officials attempting to characterize the collision as nothing more than a misunderstanding.

It is just the latest shock in the controversy over Qatar’s troubled choice in 2010 to host the World Cup. The US Department of Justice has accused the nation of paying huge bribes to officials at soccer’s international governing body, FIFA, to be the host this year.

The nation had no football heritage when it was selected, no stadiums capable of hosting international level matches and the weather was so hot during the typical tournament season that the schedules of football leagues around the world had to be revised to accommodate the weather in Qatar.

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The most fundamental concerns were about rewarding a country with egregious human rights abuses, particularly involving the migrant workers who make the nation run. Thousands of migrant workers have died in the past 10 years in Qatar, many of them in construction accidents — or heat exhaustion — on World Cup-related projects.

In other rights violations, homosexuality is illegal in the country and punishable by death, according to the Human Dignity Trust, a global LGBTQ 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 with husbands rather than friends. Women who go to the police to report sexual violence can be flogged for illegal sex, according to news reports.

The British are so worried about potential problems between authorities and fans that they are sending a crew of special “engagement officers” to protect citizens from overzealous police in Qatar.

The officials gave little comfort to the frightened fans.

While “holding hands” may be allowed in public, Qatar’s ambassador to Britain, Fahad bin Mohammed Al-Attiyah, could not guarantee in a recent radio interview with The Times of London that anything more would be acceptable.

“I think we have to be mindful of the norms and cultures of Qatari society,” he warned, and wrongly suggested that public displays of affection are also illegal in Britain.

Fans around the world are boycotting the event and many groups have organized protests against Qatar’s human rights abuses. Denmark’s team will wear black jerseys as part of their kit in “mourning” for the thousands of migrant workers who died building stadiums and other facilities for the World Cup.


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