Reporters in Qatar for the 2022 FIFA World Cup have dealt with a myriad of issues, but those issues reached a different level when one journalist allegedly had her belongings stolen live on-air.
Argentinian TV reporter Dominique Metzger from the Todo Noticias network was broadcasting from the Corniche area in the Qatari capital of Doha before the tournament’s first match. She says money, documents and credit cards were stolen from her handbag. There is no direct video of the incident, with the crime allegedly occurring while she was on-air dancing with a group of fans as seen below.
La journaliste argentine Dominique Metzger a été volée en direct alors qu'elle faisait un reportage au Qatar sur la Coupe du monde. Une partie de son argent et ses papiers ont été volés. pic.twitter.com/btfcFOnhC1
— Claire (@Langoula1Claire) November 21, 2022
“I was dancing with the crowd and I’m convinced that it was at that moment when someone opened the bag zipper and took my wallet,” Metzger told TN.
According to Metzger, she was initially dismissed by police because she is a woman. After being brought to a separate area for women only at the Doha police station, a policewoman assured Metzger they would be able to find the offender because the area was under heavy surveillance. The Telegraph previously reported 20,000 cameras with facial recognition technology are being used at the World Cup. Police told Metzger she would be able to choose between five years in prison or deportation as a punishment for the alleged pickpocketer.
“I told them I just want my wallet back, I won’t be making the decision for the justice system,” Metzger said, according to the Evening Standard.
Last week, a Danish reporter was threatened and removed by Qatar security while on-air. The Qatar Supreme Committee quickly apologized to the Danish reporter after video of the incident went viral on social media. An Irish reporter was similarly stopped by Qatari officials from filming at the World Cup. Longtime U.S. soccer reporter Grant Wahl was also scolded by security for taking a picture with his cell phone and recently, he was detained for wearing a gay pride shirt.
Journalists struggling to do their job at the World Cup is just a portion of the controversy surrounding the event. The 2022 World Cup has been under heavy scrutiny ever since FIFA shockingly awarded the tournament to Qatar in 2009, despite the country’s appalling labor abuses and human rights record.
[Evening Standard, Todo Noticias]