Migrants working on Qatar’s glorious 2022 World Cup are living in Shangri-la says BBC report
The Qatari government wanted to show invited journalists how well it’s treating migrant workers toiling on its 2022 World Cup Sandlantis. But four BBC journalists thought it an idea to do some actual journalism, peeling away from the group to see things not on the official tour.
At which point thery were arrested for trespassing and banged up in jail – which is ironically and very possibly much more in keeping with the authentic labour camp experience, allegedly.
Fifa, that bastion of freedom, fairness and transparency, says it is investigating the arrests:
“Any instance relating to an apparent restriction of press freedom is of concern to Fifa and will be looked into with the seriousness it deserves.”
Fifa did not wonder aloud why the journalists didn’t just grease some palms with silver and big watches and make the problem go away. (Because doing so would be wrong and illegal – ed).
Qatar’s head of communication Saif al-Thani then offered up:
“We gave the reporters free rein to interview whomever they chose and to roam unaccompanied in the labour villages.
“Perhaps anticipating that the government would not provide this sort of access, the BBC crew decided to do their own site visits and interviews in the days leading up to the planned tour. In doing so, they trespassed on private property, which is against the law in Qatar just as it is in most countries. Security forces were called and the BBC crew was detained….
The problems that the BBC reporter and his crew experienced could have been avoided if they had chosen to join the other journalists on the press tour. They would have been able to visit – in broad daylight – the very camps they tried to break into at night.”
Next time the BBC should just reprint a press release beneath photos of Shangri-La and not try to “break into” the, er, free villages…