The Qatari media, closely linked to the Government, have denounced in recent days the criticism, mainly European, of Doha’s human rights record before the 2022 World Cup. Since the award of the organization of this World Cup, the rich Gulf emirate has faces numerous criticisms directed at its environmental footprint, the place of LGBT+ women and minorities, and its treatment of migrant workers.
On Monday, to illustrate these criticisms, the Arabic-language daily al-raya published a satirical cartoon showing the World Cup trophy surrounded by arrows. In an editorial, the newspaper said the European press had been waging “an angry attack on the World Cup in Qatar since it was announced in December 2010.” “Let’s stop the smear campaigns and cooperate for a World Cup that brings people together,” the newspaper added.
“Lies, rumors and slander”
The newspaper Al-Sharq published on Monday an interview with former Algerian soccer star Lakhdar Belloumi, who assured that “malicious campaigns will not discourage Qatar.” In an editorial on Sunday, the newspaper denounced the “lies, rumors and slander” written in Europe about the preparations in Qatar.
There is, according to this text, a “systematic conspiracy” of the media in many European countries on the issue of the rights of migrant workers, “while these media have forgotten the miserable conditions that workers live in Europe.” “We see that these miserable media create these kinds of stories every time a country outside the Old Continent hosts the tournament,” concludes Al Sharq.
In a forum for English news site Doha NewsEntitled “It’s Time for You to Practice the Tolerance You Advocate,” artist Ghada Al-Khater writes: “Forgive me for doubting the intentions of European countries that over the last decade have seen migrants fleeing conflict, devastation and poverty are drowning at the bottom of the Mediterranean”.
As the tournament, which begins on November 20 and will draw more than a million spectators to the emirate, approaches, international NGOs and European media point to Qatar’s human rights shortcomings, which the Qatari authorities question. As a protest, some French cities will not install a giant screen to broadcast matches in public. Qatar’s emir, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani, deplored the attacks against Arab countries last month at the United Nations General Assembly.