COPENHAGEN, Denmark (AP) – The Federation of Danish Journalists has urged all Danish journalists not to travel to Qatar to cover next year’s World Cup matches, saying the Arab country cannot be trusted.
Alan Boye Tholstrup, vice president of the union, said: “I don’t trust Qatar. I’m afraid that sources critical of the government are in danger of disappearing or going to prison for a long time, and that they will not be treated well in prison.” .
“It does not make sense for Qatar to first pledge that the press can operate without hindrance and then arrest journalists,” Boy Tholstrup said. His union has more than 18,000 members.
The statement came in response to the Qatari security forces’ detention of two Norwegian journalists, and the deletion of their footage collected at a migrant labor camp as they attempted to report labor issues ahead of the 2022 FIFA World Cup.
The government in Qatar accused the two journalists of “trespassing on private property and filming without permission” while the two returned Wednesday to Norway. They claimed to have verbal permission from those filmed there. Their equipment was seized.
“Now the authorities in Qatar know what is in the journalists’ equipment,” Boy Tholstrup was quoted as saying. “If (journalists) are in contact with sources of critical importance to the government… this is a process in which Qatar has completely defaulted to protecting the source.”