Written by By Staff Writer Sarah Fowkes, CNN
Qatar says Norwegian broadcaster NRK’s crew is now temporarily no longer with Qatar’s delegation and Qatari football Federation has notified the Chilean Football Federation of their violation of Copa Sudamericana regulations.
On Saturday, Malaysian and Indonesian opposition groups, angered by the 2022 FIFA World Cup’s location in Qatar, attacked the Qatari football federation’s offices in Singapore. One was struck by a tyre thrown, the other was thrown a rubber tube.
“Any acts of sabotage and vandalism against the hosting institution of such high profile events carries a high penalty that will not go unnoticed,” its statement read.
Photographs of the building were posted on Facebook, apparently by an organization called Qatari Freedom. “In response to the attack against the Qatari Football Federation headquarters in Singapore, the Qatari Freedom movement, I gathered friends and colleagues to honour the ideals and values we share by burning the effigy of the Qatari Football Federation,” one message says.
Plane carrying Estonian cameraman, European journalists and journalist from Sweden was forced to make an emergency landing
The Norwegian Broadcasting Corporation (NRK) says its football correspondent was covering a match in Qatar between Al Sadd, and Copa Sudamericana defending champions and Copa Libertadores finalists Chile in the final match of the tournament on October 16, 2011.
The journalist said no warning was given before being thrown out, despite him having played matches on a number of previous occasions in Qatar.
The journalist said he had hoped to meet the Qatari football federation officials “to find some way out” as the country had promised to help pay his travel expenses.
“I was so frustrated and shocked that I couldn’t continue. The organizers closed the whole stadium and prevented me from continuing with the game.”
His images, he said, would have shown “the women and girls’ participation of Qatar” was “free and transparent”.
BBC interview scrapped
He had planned to have a one-on-one interview with Qatar’s football federation, which he had been preparing for with other journalists from the BBC and CNN.
When the match ended, an emergency meeting took place and the journalists were escorted out of the stadium. They were not able to report.
The reporter said he was then allowed to leave the country with a message of regret from the organizers, but the BBC News’ request to air the interview was denied.
Although none of his footage had been shown on CNN’s “Embedded With the Qatar 2022 World Cup Bid Team”, the BBC’s “Shoot to Kill” program picked it up.
On Monday, the Qatari football association distributed an email exchange with Qatari colleagues saying they had been denied, at first, access to a journalist.
“MHC [Qatar 2022 Executive Committee member] feels the atmosphere has been created to block the way of credible press coverage as a reaction to the current FIFA corruption scandals,” said an email seen by CNN.
He signed off: “Thank you once again for your understanding and understanding of our need to ensure fair and open coverage for all of our Asian counterparts as well as for all member associations and their visitors as well as for you and other broadcasters. I do hope the continued discussion regarding coverage of events of these great value to the public will prevail in order to avoid this unwarranted and undeserved prejudice against us.”
Reuters reported last week that Qatari committee spokesman David Rhode had declined to answer questions from CNN about the broadcaster’s request.
On Monday, the Qatar Foundation said in a statement that it had full respect for press freedom and “share the view of many observers in the international community that the media narrative is unfairly biased against Qatar.”
The Qatar Foundation added that “NRK had attempted, to date, to conduct legitimate negotiations on an individual basis concerning coverage of the FIFA World Cup, the Senior Olympic Committee World Championships (Sepp Blatter)’s visit to Qatar and other matters of sporting and youth interest” — adding that such conduct violated FIFA’s invitation to all media outlets to cover both World Cups.
On the NRK website, the broadcaster has published its own full page interview with the French TV reporter, who suffered a broken nose.
“Qatar has many problems,” one interviewee said. “So when I come here and I see all these things like that, I have a bad feeling about Qatar as a country.”
Sweden has called for an investigation into the treatment of journalists covering the FIFA World Cup