Qatar: World Cup restrictions on broadcasters threaten media freedom

The conditions being imposed by the Qatari government for journalists covering the World Cup, including restricting the locations where international media can film, undermine media freedom. The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) calls on the Qatari government to drop the abusive terms, respect media freedom and allow journalists to work without interference.

View of the main ticket centre for Qatar's FIFA football World Cup, with a mural of its mascot "La'eeb", in the capital Doha on October 16, 2022. Credit: Giuseppe Cacace / AFP

International broadcasters will not be allowed to record at governmental buildings, universities, places of worship, hospitals, as well as residential properties and private businesses, according to The Guardian. These terms are among a list of conditions that international media must subscribe to when applying for a filming and photography permit to broadcast the FIFA World Cup. 

Although the rules do not forbid reports on specific subjects, they restrict the locations where crews can film. Therefore, the media will be unable to investigate topics of public interest such as human rights abuses faced by migrant workers in the country. In November 2021, the Qatari authorities arrested two Norwegian journalists who were investigating the poor working conditions of migrant workers in preparation for the World Cup. 

According to the media, Qatari authorities have denied imposing restrictions on media freedoms, highlighting that thousands of journalists report freely in Qatar. 

IFJ Secretary General Anthony Bellanger said: “The Qatari authorities have been preventing journalists from presenting a broad picture of what is happening, since the country was awarded the right to host the 2022 World Cup. Independent reporting is key to transparency around such a global event. We urge the Qatari government to drop these abusive terms and conditions”

For more information, please contact IFJ on +32 2 235 22 16

The IFJ represents more than 600,000 journalists in 146 countries

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