The FIFA World Cup in Qatar might “chill” media coverage by making it unlawful for international TV crews to conduct interviews in people’s homes.
People are not permitted to enter hospitals, schools, houses of worship, or other public establishments, according to the legislation.
Before applying for a filming license to “capture images and movies of Qatar’s most iconic places,” media businesses must agree to the limits as part of a bigger set of conditions. Photographers are not at risk, but print journalists who do not save interview transcripts are.
Even while the laws do not prohibit investigating maltreatment of migrant workers or speaking with people about sensitive themes such as LGBTQ+ rights, it may be difficult to do so due to limits on shooting areas (“including but not limited to houses, apartment complexes, and accommodation sites”).
Qatar’s supreme committee responded last night to charges that it has “chilling” limits on press freedom, saying that “a number of regional and international media outlets are headquartered in Qatar.”
According to its website, the requirements for obtaining a video license have been altered to make it easier for media groups covering the World Cup. They were no longer required to “acknowledge and agree” not to present stories that are “inappropriate or detrimental to Qatari culture and Islamic beliefs.”
Even though filming is now permitted in Qatar, numerous locations remain off-limits, and broadcasters must swear not to “record or take images in banned areas.” Homes, stores, companies, hospitals, schools, and churches are all within walking distance.
According to the legislation, media outlets must “respect” individuals’s right to privacy and get “express authorization” from those whose likenesses or property will be presented on television.
Because of Fifa’s “cooperation with the supreme committee and significant organizations in Qatar,” the media would have the finest possible circumstances to cover the competition.
In any country, a spokeswoman noted that shooting on private property requires authorization from the owner or operator. The reasons why you can’t shoot on private land aren’t mentioned.
Qatari journalists have been imprisoned for writing about contentious issues. Journalists from the BBC who were investigating where migrant laborers resided in Doha were detained in 2015. In November, two Norwegian journalists investigating how migrant workers were abused in the run-up to the World Cup were imprisoned for 36 hours.
There are laws in place to prevent the BBC and ITV from being unduly influenced by other organisations, particularly governments. It should be equally crucial to defend free speech as it is to prevent the BBC from broadcasting objectionable content.
Index on Censorship’s chief editor, Jemimah Steinfeld, stated the film license rules were “worrisome” and “deliberately imprecise” so that broadcasters would “err on the side of caution.”
Qatar is ruled by an Islamic government. It is illegal to swear, wear exposing clothing, or display affection in public. It is illegal to engage in homosexual activity. Authorities in the United Kingdom have advised you not to share any derogatory, harmful, or insensitive material.
In order to entice visitors, Qatar has recently changed its opinion regarding a variety of issues. During the World Cup, stadiums can offer alcohol and LGBT supporters can exhibit their support in public. There have been no modifications to free speech limits, such as the prohibition on distributing “fake news” online.
The BBC did not state whether it agreed or disagreed with the rules of the film authorization. According to a spokeswoman, the group is recognized for taking on significant topics, and the World Cup is no exception.
According to ITV’s news and current affairs staff, “significant reporting” was done on people’s concerns about Qatar’s human rights record and the decision to award them the event.