Wa few days before the start of the soccer World Cup in Qatar local journalists feel restricted by their right to free reporting: A Danish television crew has been harassed at work by local security forces. Among other things, the men threatened to destroy the TV2 team’s camera. The World Cup organizers have meanwhile apologized to the broadcaster and the local team. The American Grant Wahl reported on his website about an incident in which he was said to have been asked to delete a photo.
During a live report by journalist Rasmus Tantholdt on Tuesday, security forces appeared and tried to obstruct the shoot, even though the team had valid accreditations and a permit. In the video, the journalists can be heard saying: “They invited the whole world to come here, why can’t we film here? It’s a public place,” Tantholdt said to the security forces and showed his accreditation. He continued: “You can break the camera, do you want to break it? You’re threatening us by smashing the camera?”
The World Cup organizers confirmed the incident. A statement said: “The tournament organizers are aware of an incident where a Danish broadcast team was accidentally cut off during a live broadcast in one of Qatar’s tourist destinations. After examining the valid tournament accreditation and filming permission of the crew, the security service issued an apology.” Tantholdt confirmed via Twitter that he had received an apology from the local organizations.
Wahl said he wanted to pick up his work ID from the official accreditation center and photographed the slogan “Now is all” on a wall. A security guard was with him within seconds and asked him to delete it, which he apparently did not comply with. Qatar is ranked 119th out of 180 in Reporters Without Borders’ press freedom rankings.