This is the moment heavy-handed Qatari officials interrupted a live TV broadcast after telling an Argentinian journalist to stop filming as he interviewed a football fan in a wheelchair.
A tall man in Arabic robes and headdress ordered Joaquin Alvarez to show him his Press pass before instructing the cameraman to point his lens away.
Colleagues from the studio back in Buenos Aires said ‘this is what the Qatar government is like’ as they expressed concern at what was happening live in Doha.
Heavy-handed Qatari officials arrive to interrupt a live TV broadcast after telling an Argentinian journalist to stop filming as he interviews a football fan in a wheelchair
The TV reporter tries to reason with the unnamed officials after they interrupt his live broadcast
A Qatari official holds up his hand toward a reporter’s camera after interrupting a live broadcast on Argentinian TV
The broadcast is forced to end after the officials insist the Argentinian reporter and his crew can’t film any more
The incident, which comes after a Danish film crew were threatened by security staff on air as they broadcast in the capital ahead of the World Cup, took place during a live report for Nosotros a la Mañana, a popular show on Argentina’s El Trece channel.
Alvarez, who normally hosts the programme in a studio in his home country, was joking with Argentine fans about their favourite TV channel when he was interrupted by the unidentified official and two other men who appeared seconds later.
He was forced to stop and prove he was working seconds after a wheelchair-bound supporter he was fooling around with admitted he was ‘sad’ about the South American nation’s shock defeat to Saudi Arabia in their first match of the tournament.
The interruption to the live broadcast took place in Barwa Village, a commercial and residential complex on the outskirts of Doha that was completed in 2010 and has been expanded for the World Cup.
The journalist and crew resumed filming later from the back of a car, with Alvarez telling viewers he had been forced to leave the area after being told where he was working was ‘private’.
Insisting his paperwork was in order and he had all the necessary permits, he said: ‘I was frightened and thought they were going to take me prisoner.
‘The person who stopped the filming got out of a van and told us in a very rude way we couldn’t film any more because we were in a private place.
‘I told him we were showing something nice but they told us we had to go and there was a moment when they even wanted to take our equipment off us.’
A Qatari official appears to order an Argentinian TV crew to stop broadcasting as they interview a fan in a wheelchair
The crew’s camera focuses on an empty street during the live broadcast, seemingly after being ordered to stop filming
He went on to thank well-wishers for their support in a social media post, raging: ‘We had a bad experience and what happened was totally unfair because we had all our permits and everything in order.
‘It’s in the past now, another anecdote. The most important thing for me is that Argentina is playing again on Saturday.’
Nicolas Magaldi, who is replacing Alvarez as programme host while his colleague covers the World Cup, responded by saying: ‘This is an example of severe censorship and we have to say so.
‘They covered up the camera, didn’t let us film, ordered you away in a rude fashion and on top of that the person doing the talking didn’t identify himself.’
The journalist’s wife Tefi Russo later took to social media to say of her husband: ‘No joke, he sh*t himself simply because although he had all his paperwork in order, he’s away from home, he was doing a live broadcast, he doesn’t speak the language, it’s another culture and it’s censorship when you know you’re doing nothing wrong.
‘It’s impossible to work and enjoy a World Cup like this.’
Qatari officials ended up apologising after a similar incident less than a fortnight ago involving the Danish film crew.
Danish reporter Rasmus Tantholdt was interrupted while presenting live on TV out in Qatar
Security officials took issue with him filming and soon threatened to destroy his camera
A security guard tries to explain that he is unable to film, despite his accreditation pass
TV2 reporter Rasmus Tantholdt was speaking as part of a live broadcast when he was approached by security staff who had appeared on a golf buggy next to the newly opened Chedi Hotel at Katara Cultural Village.
They told him that he was not welcome to film and threatened to smash and destroy his camera.
Tantholdt replied: ‘You have invited the whole world here. Why can’t we film? It is a public place.’
He then added: ‘You can break the camera. You want to break it? Go ahead. You’re threatening us by breaking the camera.’
The shutdown by authorities is the latest amid a series of clampdowns in Qatar that has also seen the banning of beer, as well as the enforcement of dress code rules.
England fans dressed as Crusaders were turned away from World Cup matches in Qatar as their costumes are ‘offensive to Muslims’.
Two fancy-dress knights were seen on social media trying to get through security before England’s match with Iran on Monday. They were wearing chainmail and helmets bearing St George’s Cross.
England fans dressed as Crusaders with chainmail, shields and swords are stopped by security outside a stadium in Qatar
An England fan dressed as a Crusader kneels at a security check at the World Cup in Qatar
It is claimed that the pair, who were also carrying novelty swords, were escorted away by four officers at the security gate before kick-off.
Some Doha residents appear to have been upset by the choice of outfit, given the religious wars between 1095 and 1291 were about taking land and holy sites under Islamic control.
Crusaders and supporters in St George outfits have become a familiar sight at overseas England matches over the years – but the fancy dress will be far more controversial at the first World Cup ever held in a Muslim nation.
Footage from Qatar before and after the England game earlier this week showed the group singing God Save the King and storming up the stairs on public transport. Some locals appeared shocked by their choice of outfits, while others asked them to pose for selfies.
At one point the group, carrying foam swords and wearing chainmail and Knights Templar robes marked with the cross of St George, were spoken to by security outside the Khalifa International Stadium. Some claimed on social media they were even turned away or detained – but this was not clear from the footage.
Football fans in Qatar wearing traditional Arabic robes and headdress have also been asked to remove them when entering bars serving alcohol, over fears that it offends locals and insults Islam.
Security staff at a number of Doha’s bars have told fans that they cannot enter wearing traditional Islamic clothing to have a beer following complaints from Qataris that it is offensive to their faith.
Croatia fans wear the traditional Arabic dress in the colours of their football team while celebrating in Doha, Qatar on November 19, 2022
The availability of alcohol is severely restricted in the Muslim country but it is served in bars located in four- or five-star hotels which have attracted a large number of football fans.
Qatar’s conservative regime has also been clamping down on pro-LGBT football fans with rainbow bucket hats, T-shirts and flags.
On Monday night, former Wales captain Laura McAllister was among female football fans who were ‘told to take off their rainbow bucket hats’ at the Qatari stadium ahead of the Dragons’ first match.
Men, however, were allowed to keep them on.
Former Wales captain Laura McAllister was among female football fans who were ‘told to take off their rainbow bucket hats’ at the Qatari stadium ahead of the Dragons’ first match with the US last night
US sports journalist Grant Wahl (pictured) was initially refused entry to a World Cup match in Doha, Qatar and had security guards ‘aggressively demand’ he remove his rainbow shirt for ‘his own safety’
US football reporter Grant Wahl was also stopped by security at the same match and ordered to take off his rainbow T-shirt.
He refused and the Qatari officials questioned him before they eventually backed down.
One security guard told him that they were protecting him from fans inside who might have attacked him for wearing the shirt.
FIFA has made it clear that rainbows on clothing and flags is not prohibited in stadiums – but have acted to prevent protests on the pitch.
Organisers of the Qatar World Cup and Qatari cultural groups have also urged visitors to respect their customs and religious rules.
These include no drinking or swearing in public, wearing modest clothes and no public displays of affection. Homosexuality is illegal in Qatar under Islamic Sharia law and LGBT+ people also face discrimination and violence.