Qataris apologise after security staff threaten Danish journalists live on air

London-based Iran International Television (IITV) journalists have visas to enter Qatar to cover the World Cup revoked

Journalist Rasmus Tantholdt being stopped doing his work by Qatari security personnel
Journalist Rasmus Tantholdt being stopped doing his work by Qatari security personnel

Qatari authorities have apologised after security staff threatened journalists from Danish TV station TV2 live on air in Doha on Thursday night, despite them displaying their accreditation.

Journalist Rasmus Tantholdt was filmed saying to the security staff: “You invited the whole world to come here, why can’t we film?”

Qatar’s Supreme Committee for Delivery and Legacy has said the crew were “mistakenly interrupted” and “issued an advisory to all entities to respect the filming permits in place for the tournament”.

Journalists at London-based Iran International Television (IITV) also appear to have had their visas to enter Qatar to cover the World Cup revoked.

The revocations came after IITV was designated a “terrorist” organisation by the Iranian government.

IITV, which takes a critical line on the Iranian government, has alleged Iran leaned on Qatar to have its journalists’ authorisations rescinded.

Documents provided by IITV show one journalist had been approved for entry to Qatar as far back as August and that three were approved for FIFA accreditation.

Qatar is ranked 119th on the World Press Freedom Index 2022 created by Reporters Without Borders, while Iran is ranked 178 out of 180 countries.

IITV is a 24/7 news channel that broadcasts in Persian. The outlet has been heavily covering the protests that have followed the death of Mahsa Amini, a woman who was allegedly beaten into a coma and subsequent death by Iran’s morality police for not wearing her hijab correctly.

IITV planned to send seven journalists to Qatar for the World Cup – three with FIFA accreditation and four more with general entry visas permitting them to cover the World Cup with restricted access. IITV said all its journalists had successfully applied for entry to Qatar by August.

Two of the three FIFA-accredited journalists now say they have had their entry visas rescinded, and the third that their visa has gone from approved to pending. The non-accredited journalists say they were told at the end of October their visas had been altered to permit entry but not work.

IITV has accused Qatar of rescinding its journalists’ visas under pressure from the Iranian government. According to Radio Free Europe, Iran’s intelligence minister said last week that cooperation with IITV would be considered cooperation with terrorists.


Volant Media, which broadcasts IITV, said earlier this month that two of its journalists had been the subject of death threats. The Guardian reported they were told by the Metropolitan Police the threats “represent an imminent, credible and significant risk to their lives and those of their families”.

Iranian journalists in the UK have for several years been subject to threats they will be “snatched off the streets” for their work.

In 2018 an anonymous source told The Guardian that Saudi Arabia’s Mohammed bin Salman was “the force behind Iran International” Television as an anti-Iranian soft power ploy. The channel has strenuously denied any connection to the Saudi state or royal court.