Just before the World Cup begins in Qatar, the gnawing issue of media safety resurfaced after a Danish reporter was heckled by the local authority. Rasmus Tanthold, a reporter for T2, was doing his job, when three men arrived in a Golf buggy, and asked him to stop filming. One of them even threatened to destroy the camera.
Tanthold, however, showed great courage in confronting the officials, showing his press card and asking “You have invited the whole world here. Why can’t we film? It is a public place. Do you want to break it? Go ahead. You’re threatening us by breaking the camera.”
Tantholdt then updated that he has received an official apology from Qatar International Media Office and the Qatar Supreme Committee. “We now got an apology from Qatar International Media Office and from Qatar Supreme Committee. 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?” Tanthold wrote on Twitter.
However, this is not the only instance of a journalist being reproached by Qatari officials. Grant Wahl, a former Sports Illustrated writer, also wrote about how he was accosted by a security guard when he went to collect his FIFA credentials at the media accreditation center. When Wahl took a picture of the World Cup slogan inscribed on the wall, a security officer asked him to delete the picture from his phone.
“I took a picture of the Qatar World Cup slogan on the wall of the media center today—and a security guard came over and demanded that I delete it from my phone. Is that how this World Cup is going to work?” wrote Wahl on Twitter.
It has been an uneasy build-up to the World Cup, with the hosts receiving flak for their poor human rights record and the labor rights violation of the workers. It has also been reported that Qatar has paid hundreds of fake fans to build a vibrant atmosphere around the tournament. The event will kickstart on 20 January with a match against the host nation and Ecuador.
Lead Image: Rasmus Tanthold/Twitter