Danish reporter REFUSES to remove OneLove armband when ordered to by Qatari official

Danish reporter REFUSES to remove OneLove armband when ordered to by Qatari official… days after another journalist was forced off air while covering World Cup

  • TV2 reporter Jon Pagh was ordered to remove his OneLove armband by official
  • Pagh stood in defiance and refused to remove anti-discrimination symbol 
  • Dispute came days after another Danish journalist covering World Cup was forced off-air after Qatari security staff threatened to destroy his camera 

A Danish reporter refused to remove his ‘OneLove’ anti-discrimination armband ahead of his live TV report when a Qatari official ordered him to. 

Jon Pagh, a journalist for Danish broadcaster TV2, stood in defiance against the official and refused to adhere to his order to remove the anti-discrimination and LGBT rights symbol from his arm. 

Pagh was getting ready to do a TV report about Denmark’s World Cup match against Tunisia when the Qatari official approached him and told him to remove the armband – but the Danish reporter refused.

The armbands have been viewed as a symbolic protest against laws in World Cup host Qatar, where homosexuality is illegal. 

Pagh’s refusal to remove the rainbow-themed armband came days after another Danish journalist from TV2, Rasmus Tantholdt, was forced off-air after Qatari security staff threatened to destroy his camera if he did not stop filming. 

Jon Pagh, a journalist for Danish broadcaster TV2, stood in defiance against the official and refused to adhere to his order to remove the anti-discrimination and LGBT rights symbol from his arm

Jon Pagh, a journalist for Danish broadcaster TV2, stood in defiance against the official and refused to adhere to his order to remove the anti-discrimination and LGBT rights symbol from his arm

Pagh was about to start a TV report when a Qatari official approached him and told him to remove the armband

Pagh was about to start a TV report when a Qatari official approached him and told him to remove the armband

The Qatari official, becoming agitating, then told the TV crew to stop filming before thrusting his hand over the camera

The Qatari official, becoming agitating, then told the TV crew to stop filming before thrusting his hand over the camera

The dispute came days after another Danish journalist from TV2, Rasmus Tantholdt, was forced off-air after Qatari security staff threatened to destroy his camera if he did not stop filming (pictured)

The dispute came days after another Danish journalist from TV2, Rasmus Tantholdt, was forced off-air after Qatari security staff threatened to destroy his camera if he did not stop filming (pictured)

And now, in the latest example of Qatari officials cracking down on the media and those who wear the OneLove armband, Pagh was ordered to remove the symbol from his arm before starting a TV report.

In an exchange that was filmed by TV2 film crew, Pagh told the official: ‘I understand that you’re telling me that, but I can’t take it off.’ 

Pagh, reaching for his OneLove armband, asked: ‘Why is this not allowed?’ 

The official then said something to Pagh, but it is inaudible because he has his hand over his mouth.

Pagh responded: ‘It’s because of the colours? But this just says One Love.’

The Qatari official, becoming agitating, then told the TV crew to stop filming before thrusting his hand over the camera.

A defiant Pagh continued: ‘It just says one love. It’s respecting everybody. Look, I respect that you’re telling me this.’ 

The Qatari official then walked off, leaving Pagh looking at the camera with incredulity.

A defiant Pagh continued: 'It just says one love. It's respecting everybody. Look, I respect that you're telling me this'

A defiant Pagh continued: ‘It just says one love. It’s respecting everybody. Look, I respect that you’re telling me this’

The Qatari official then walked off, leaving Pagh looking at the camera with incredulity

The Qatari official then walked off, leaving Pagh looking at the camera with incredulity

Pagh was getting ready to do a TV report about Denmark's World Cup match against Tunisia when the Qatari official approached him and told him to remove the armband - but the Danish reporter refused

Pagh was getting ready to do a TV report about Denmark’s World Cup match against Tunisia when the Qatari official approached him and told him to remove the armband – but the Danish reporter refused

Denmark’s football team was also planning to wear the ‘One Love’ anti-discrimination armband along with other European teams such as England and Wales before the campaign was dropped when FIFA threatened to hand out yellow cards.

But in an act of defiance, former Danish Prime Minister Helle Thorning-Schmidt, who is now chair of the Danish football federation’s governance and development committee, wore a coat with rainbow coloured sleeves while watching Denmark’s match against Tunisia from inside the stadium. 

Denmark has been one of the most outspoken critics of the tournament in Qatar and during the pre-match warmup its players wore all black long-sleeve shirts over their red game jerseys to mourn migrant workers who died building infrastructure for the World Cup.

Qatar has been heavily criticised and scrutinised over human rights violations and its attitudes towards the LGBTQ+ community since it was handed the rights to the 2022 World Cup 12 years ago.

But in another act of defiance by Denmark, former Danish Prime Minister Helle Thorning-Schmidt, who is now chair of the Danish football federation's governance and development committee, wore a coat with rainbow coloured sleeves while watching Denmark's match against Tunisia from inside the stadium

But in another act of defiance by Denmark, former Danish Prime Minister Helle Thorning-Schmidt, who is now chair of the Danish football federation’s governance and development committee, wore a coat with rainbow coloured sleeves while watching Denmark’s match against Tunisia from inside the stadium

Last week, Qatar faced further scrutiny after it emerged that Qatari officials had threated a Danish reporter while live on air. 

Reporting from Qatar days before the opening match of the FIFA World Cup, TV2 reporter Rasmus Tantholdt was speaking as part of a live broadcast when he was approached by security staff that had appeared on a golf buggy.

It quickly became apparent that he was not welcome to film and he was quickly threatened with having his camera smashed and destroyed.

The clip, which has gone viral across social media, showed Tantholdt switching to English to ask for clarifications on where he was allegedly misconstruing any rules on filming in Qatar.

‘You have invited the whole world here. Why can’t we film? It is a public place,’ he said. 

He quickly presented his press accreditation on his phone, reaffirming their permissions to film but as one man grapples with the lens of the camera, a security guard claims the camera will be destroyed if they do not stop filming.

The Danes show their press accreditation and say they have permission to film. Then the guards follow up with a threat. If they don’t stop filming, they will destroy the camera.

‘You can break the camera,’ he added. ‘You want to break it? Go ahead. You’re threatening us by breaking the camera.’

Tantholdt seen showing his press accreditation before claiming he does not need a permit

Tantholdt seen showing his press accreditation before claiming he does not need a permit

Security officials took issue with him filming and soon threatening to destroy his camera

Security officials took issue with him filming and soon threatening to destroy his camera

A security guard tries to explain that he is unable to film, despite his accreditation pass

A security guard tries to explain that he is unable to film, despite his accreditation pass

Speaking from Qatar to Norwegian outlet NRK, Tantholdt confirmed he had since been given an apology by delegates in Qatar but the fact he was stopped during a live broadcast raises a number of concerns for him.

‘I don’t think the message from the top in Qatar has reached all the security guards,’ he was quoted as saying. 

‘Therefore, one can argue that there are some who have misunderstood the situation, but at the same time it tells a lot about what it is like in Qatar. There it is that you can be attacked and threatened when you report as a free media.’

‘This is not a free and democratic country,’ he added. ‘My experience after visiting 110 countries in the world is: The more you have to hide, the more difficult it is to report from there.’

Qatari officials (pictured) arrived on a golf buggy while the live broadcast was going on

Qatari officials (pictured) arrived on a golf buggy while the live broadcast was going on 

It is also not the first time reporters have had issues trying to report freely and openly in Qatar. 

Norwegian outlet NRK endured their own issues when reporting from Qatar last year.

Two of their journalists, Halvor Ekeland and Lokman Ghorbani, were arrested and subsequently were imprisoned in Qatar over claims that the pair had been filming on private land.

They were held for around 30 hours before they were released and sent back to Norway.

Back in November last year, Norwegian Prime Minister Jonas Gahr Støre described the treatment of reporters in the Gulf State as ‘unacceptable’. 

‘A free press is crucial to a functioning democracy,’ he added. 

It appears there are still problems for reporters just days out from the start of the tournament. 

American writer Grant Wahl had his own run-in with security staff having been told to delete a photo he had taken in the media centre.

Detailing the story on his Twitter account, Wahl wrote: ‘I took a picture of the Qatar World Cup slogan on the wall of the media center today – and a security guard came over and demanded that I delete it from my phone. Is that how this World Cup is going to work?’

He was told that a ‘picture is not allowed’ before he protested that he was simply taking a photo. 

‘Kindly delete it, sir,’ came the reply. 

BBC pundit Alex Scott wore rainbow armband for England game on live TV and declares: Boycotting Qatar World Cup is the ‘easy option’

England may have backed down but BBC presenter Alex Scott defied Fifa’s ban on the rainbow armband as she broadcast from pitchside yesterday.

It was decided at the eleventh hour that England captain Harry Kane would no longer wear the anti-discrimination and LGBT rights symbol against Iran following pressure from football’s governing body.

But BBC pundit Miss Scott took the opportunity to wear the OneLove armband pitchside yesterday at the Khalifa International Stadium in Doha during the build up to the England game.

Miss Scott, a former England international with 140 caps, has been a vocal critic of Qatar’s treatment of LGBT people and the country’s human rights record.

‘And once again we reference Infantino from what he said: you are not gay, you will never understand travelling to a country where you are fearing for your life just because of your preference of who you choose to love,’ she said during the coverage of the opening game of the tournament on Sunday.

‘To keep saying that football is for everyone, that’s what he keeps feeding us with, but we sit here and it’s not [for everyone] because people have not been able to travel to watch their team and support their team out of fear.’

She insisted it would have been easy to boycott the tournament and that she went to the World Cup in Qatar because she wants to have the ‘harder conversations’.

Miss Scott said: ‘Actually I’ve had conversations saying, ‘I should be staying at home, I should be boycotting’ and I thought long and hard about it. I think for me personally that would have been the easy option to do just that.

‘I’m here because I love my job and, when I think about it, sitting here and having the harder conversations: we’re talking about the migrant workers, LGBTQ+ community, we’re talking about women’s rights.

‘You think about four years ago, I was the first female pundit for the BBC at a World Cup. You think how far we’ve moved in four years. Let’s hope, in the next four years, we’re never having to have these conversations again.’

Former England captain Rio Ferdinand hit out at the decision of teams to not wear the rainbow armband accusing the countries of ‘folding like a pack of cards’ following a bit of pressure.

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