The longtime question of why the 2022 World Cup is being played in Qatar remains unanswered — for now.
Norwegian broadcaster NRK, which provided a crew for a documentary on conditions for migrant workers in Qatar, says a Qatar newspaper issued a death threat and prevented them from leaving the country to cover the World Cup.
NRK took part in a documentary called ‘Stolen Hearts’ about the construction of stadiums in the country for the tournament. Norsk Dagbladet, a dailies close to the ruling Emir of Qatar, also objected to their coverage.
“During the course of a weekend … the staff were detained for a full week and imprisoned in the country. The staff were injured and their equipment was confiscated by the authorities,” the broadcaster wrote.
“Despite making clear numerous times that they were there on a legal assignment, the website was not informed that they could leave the country. The same day they were detained by the authorities at Doha airport, they were told that they were trespassing.”
Qatar responded that the journalists were entering the country illegally.
“The Kingdom of Qatar will never be a place where a journalist’s ethics and professional integrity can be questioned,” the statement said. “For the same reason, working journalists will never be allowed to trespass onto Qatar’s territory.”
The 2022 World Cup is the most expensive in the history of soccer, with many countries willing to pay hundreds of millions of dollars for the privilege.
During the journey, the crew encountered several issues, with some laborers going without food, water or medicine. NRK wrote that one man died in the crew’s company. The country has struggled to meet international standards in housing, water and sanitation for construction workers.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.