Security services in Qatar shut down a Danish journalist’s live news segment in real time, days before the country is set to host to opening matches of soccer’s World Cup.
Rasmus Tantholdt of Denmark’s TV2 was interrupted by Qatari authorities during the Tuesday broadcast from the capital city of Doha, with a confrontation between the two parties soon ending in the camera being shut off.
Tantholdt said in a tweet about the incident that the Qatari authorities later apologized for interfering with his work.
“We now got an apology from Qatar International Media Office and from Qatar Supreme Commitee,” he said. “This is what happened when we were broadcasting live for @tv2nyhederne from a roundabout today in Doha. But will it happen to other media as well?”
We now got an apology from Qatar International Media Office and from Qatar Supreme Commitee.
This is what happened when we were broadcasting live for @tv2nyhederne from a roundabout today in Doha. But will it happen to other media as well? #FIFAWorldCupQatar2022 pic.twitter.com/NSJj50kLql
— Rasmus Tantholdt TV2 (@RasmusTantholdt) November 15, 2022
In the video he shared, a Qatari official threatened to break his camera, seemingly under the impression he was unauthorized to film in that area.
“Mister, you invited the whole world to come here,” Tantholdt said, displaying his press accreditation to the Qatari authorities.
“Why can’t we film?” he said. “It’s a public place.”
A man wearing Islamic clothing went on to grasp the camera, with Tantholdt reacting to what he described as threats to break the device.
“You can break the camera, you want to break the camera?” he said.
“So you’re threatening us by smashing the camera,” the Danish journalist said of the dispute.
The oil-wealthy Gulf Arab nation has sought to protect its reputation from criticism in the runup to the World Cup, considered a boon to Qatar’s global standing.
Fans attending the tournament from other countries were offered special privileges at matches in exchange for promoting the image of Qatar on social media, according to The New York Times.
Qatar made extensive use of de facto forced labor that some human rights critics have compared to slavery in order to prepare for the expensive World Cup.
Construction workers from South Asia were lured to Qatar with the promise of high salaries, only to find their passports confiscated and their wages stolen by Qatari government contractors, according to Amnesty International.
Dismal living conditions and dangerous work have defined the World Cup experience for the workers, with The Guardian estimating last year that 6,500 migrant workers from India, Pakistan, Nepal, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka have died in Qatar of various causes since work on the tournament began in 2010.
Western human rights organizations have primarily focused on Qatar’s policies pertaining to homosexuality.
The U.S. Men’s National Team decorated an in-country training facility with LGBT pride and transgender imagery in protest of Qatar’s laws against the practice.
“We’re a group that believes in inclusivity, and we’ll continue to project that going forward.”
— U.S. Men’s National Soccer Team (@USMNT) November 14, 2022
The first match in the tournament is slated for Sunday.
This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.