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

In another worrying sign of possible trouble at the World Cup in Qatar, local authorities have threatened via live television to smash the camera of a Danish television news crew reporting on the upcoming event.

Qatar World Cup organizers later issued an apology to Denmark’s TV2 after claiming journalists were “accidentally interrupted” during a live broadcast from a Doha street as angry authorities threatened Wednesday to destroy their camera after closing the lens with their hands.

TV2 reporter Rasmus Tanholdt responded during the police action: “Sir, I have invited the whole world to come here. Why can’t we film? It’s a public place.”

He added, “You can break the camera. You want to break it? You threaten us with breaking the camera?”

Tanholdt can be seen on camera showing the authorities the crew’s various permission documents, but they argue with him.

Tanholdt didn’t seem comfortable with an apology and wondered if other media outlets would also be attacked for simply reporting it.

TV2 said on its website: “The team has been told bluntly that if they don’t stop filming, their cameras will be destroyed.” “This is despite the fact that the TV2 team had received the correct credits and reported from a public place.”

It was not clear why the crew boycotted, while Qatari officials scrambled to describe the clash as nothing more than a misunderstanding.

It is only the latest shockwave in the controversy over Qatar’s problematic selection in 2010 to host the World Cup. The US Department of Justice has accused the nation of paying large bribes to officials of the world soccer governing body, FIFA, to host soccer this year.

The nation had no football legacy when it was chosen, and there were no stadiums that could host matches at the international level and the weather so hot during the usual time for the tournament that football league schedules around the world had to be changed to accommodate the weather in Qatar.

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The most basic concerns involved rewarding a country that flagrantly violates human rights, particularly with regard to the migrant workers who make the nation run. Thousands of migrant workers have died in Qatar over the past 10 years, many in construction accidents – or from heat exhaustion – on World Cup-related projects.

In other rights violations, homosexuality is illegal in the country and can be punished by death, according to the Human Dignity Trust, a global LGBT rights advocacy group.

But public displays of affection are also frowned upon by heterosexuals, and women are expected to dress modestly and be in the company of their husbands, not their boyfriends. News reports said that women who went to the police to report sexual violence could be flogged for illegal sex.

The British are so concerned about possible problems between the authorities and fans that they send a crew of special “liaison officers” to protect citizens from overzealous police officers in Qatar.

The officials gave a little respite to the frightened fans.

Although “holding hands” may be permitted in public, Qatar’s ambassador to Britain, Fahd bin Mohammed al-Attiyah, could not guarantee in a recent radio interview with The Times of London that anything else would be acceptable.

He warned, “I think one should be considerate of the mores and cultures of Qatari society,” and wrongly suggested that public displays of affection were also illegal in Britain.

Fans around the world are boycotting the event, and several teams have staged protests against human rights abuses in Qatar. The Danish national team will wear black shirts as part of their uniform in “mourning” for the thousands of migrant workers who died building the stadiums and other facilities for the World Cup.


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