Sports

Qataris stop presenter from interviewing fan in wheelchair live on air

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Qatari officials were again filmed stopping a live television broadcast by a fully accredited foreign crew on a Doha street.

Argentine television host Joaquín ‘El Pollo’ Alvarez was interviewing an elderly fan in a wheelchair when an official appeared and ordered the presenter to show him his press pass.

Mr. Alvarez replies, “Yes, of course,” before asking a colleague to fish his cards out of the bag.

The official was seen angry when the Argentine presenter tried to point a microphone at him while he was speaking, slammed him away and ordered the cameraman to stop filming.

There was a lengthy discussion in which the Argentine staff tried to reassure the official through the translators.

However, he refused to allow them to continue with the passage and ordered them to leave, telling them that the area was “private”.

The brawl took place in Barwa Village, a residential complex on the outskirts of the Qatari capital that was developed specifically for the World Cup.

‘I was scared and thought they were going to take me to jail,’ said Mr Alvarez, who alleged the official threatened to take the crew’s TV equipment and detain them.

The TV crew tried unsuccessfully to negotiate with the man after showing their cards

We had a bad experience and it was completely unfair because we had all our passes and everything was fine.

“This is an example of heavy censorship and we have to say it,” said co-host Nicholas Magali from his studio in Buenos Aires.

“They covered the camera, they didn’t let us film, they told you to turn away in a rude way and on top of that they didn’t identify the person talking about themselves.”

Mr Alvarez’s wife later joked that her husband “was the same” in response to the possibility of him ending up in prison, adding: “It’s impossible to work and enjoy a World Cup like this.”

Qatari officials threaten to break the cameras of Danish correspondents live

A Danish television report was shown live last week by guards who manhandled the crew

Security threatens to smash TV reporter's camera live while reporting on the World Cup in Qatar: Twitter/Rasmus Tantholdt TV2

International media outlets have criticized the Qatari authorities over a number of incidents involving cruel guards

Argentine broadcasters say the official, who was patrolling in a truck, declined to be identified and they still don’t know if he works for the government or a private security company.

Qatar claims to have trained more than 50,000 people to provide security for an expected influx of 1.2 million visitors from around the world.

As recently as last week, the Qatari government insisted that all staff were reminded to “respect the valid filming permits for the tournament”.

The pledge came after a group of Qatari men manhandled a Danish TV crew and threatened to smash their equipment.

Reporter Rasmus Tantoult was speaking during a live broadcast on a street in Katara when the men arrived on a golf cart and immediately stopped the broadcast without making any attempts to ask for papers.

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Mr Tantoldt, who showed his press pass and insisted they had been given permission to film there, was heard to say: ‘I have invited the whole world over here. Why can’t we film? It’s a public place.’

It later emerged that the men were private security guards and the Danes received apologies from both the Qatar International Media Office and the Qatar Supreme Committee that is overseeing the 2022 World Cup.

In a statement to Metro.co.uk, a spokesperson for the Higher Committee said: “The tournament organizers have since spoken to the journalist and have advised all entities to respect the applicable filming permits for the tournament.”

Another Argentine reporter, Dominique Metzger, was robbed live the same week.

Another incident appears to show a Brazilian journalist being harassed by officials outside a stadium after a regional flag of his country was mistaken for an LGBTQ pride flag.

And on Sunday, a British visitor claimed they were “attacked” by bouncers while he was filming himself playing football outside the stadium.

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