‘This is not Disneyland! You can’t point your camera everywhere’! BBC journalists arrested in Doha for reporting on Qatar’s World Cup building project

Photo of quarters for foreign workers, 2014. More here.

A team of BBC journalists filming World Cup migrant worker accommodation in Qatar was thrown in prison and told ‘this is not Disneyland, you can’t stick your camera anywhere’.

The crew was invited by the government of Qatar to film flag-ship housing for workers employed for the 2022 World Cup preparations, but ended up being tailed by security forces, who then imprisoned them in ‘filthy conditions’ and confiscated their equipment.

Shocked reporter Mark Lobel explained afterwards that they were arrested after they detoured to investigate worker accommodation they’d heard was of a very poor standard.

He explained that eight white cars surrounded their vehicle in Doha and forced them to stop.

After being frisked on the street their equipment was taken away and each member of the crew – Mr Lobel, the cameraman, translator and driver – was handcuffed then aggressively questioned separately by Qatari intelligence officers…


Reuters reports that they have been released, after two nights in jail. They had strayed away from an official tour organized by Qatar.  

NYT reports that FIFA* plans to investigate.


*Fédération Internationale de Football Association. I know zero about sports but they are an international organization for what we call soccer in North America.

Share