A journalist from Danish broadcaster, TV2 Denmark, has been issued an apology by the Qatar Supreme Committee, as well as the Qatar International Media Office after Qatari security officials had threatened to smash and destroy the reporter's camera while live on air, due to supposedly not being allowed to film on the premises.
The misunderstanding was handled poorly by the Qatari officials, as even after the reporter shows his credentials to the security team, video footage from the live broadcast that was taking place shows one of them grabbing the camera.
Footage that was being broadcast live to Danish television has gone viral across social media, whereby a reporter for the network, Rasmus Tantholdt, can be seen and heard in English proposing to the security officials, "You invited the whole world to come here, why can't we film? It's a public place".
The security officials then responded to Tantholdt that he and his news team need permission from Qatar to film, to which Tantholdt denies. "This is the accreditation, we can film anywhere we want," he expresses.
As reported by the Daily Mail, Tantholdt was abruptly approached by security staff that had appeared on a golf buggy while the crew was broadcasting live, and one man grappled with the lens of the camera, as another security guard stated that the camera would be destroyed unless they stop filming. "So you are threatening us by smashing the camera" is the last thing heard before the footage ends.
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/NSJj50kLqlNovember 15, 2022
Just days before the opening match of the FIFA World Cup, the footage has gone viral - as can be seen above, published via Twitter - and is extremely bad press for Qatar. Damage control has already taken place, as The Qatar Supreme Committee has supposedly rushed to issue an apology to Tantholdt, as well as from delegates in Qatar that include Qatar's international communications office, as well as the Supreme Council in Qatar.
In speaking with the Norweigan publication NRK, Tantholdt shares via a phone call interview that the situation "tells a lot about what it is like in Qatar...that you can be attacked and threatened when you report as a free media".
He also expresses that "This is not a free and democratic country...My experience after visiting 110 countries in the world is: The more you have to hide, the more difficult it is to report from there."
Journalists in Qatar have long faced issues with filming and reporting in the country, as NRK also reports that its own journalists faced issues in the country last year, and found themselves arrested and imprisoned for filming on alleged private land.
Qatar's attitudes towards the LGBTQ+ community have also caused many celebrities to refuse and turn down world cup performance slots.
• You may also be interested in how cameras are refereeing soccer - FIFA uses tech to call offside, as well as how pro sports photographers prepare for the world cup, and take a look at our guides to the best cameras for sports photography, and the best 150-600mm lenses.