The United Arab Emirates has allowed two journalists from Qatar to enter the emirate and cover the ongoing Asian Cup football tournament reportedly after pressure from the Asian Football Confederation (AFC).
The entry of Mahmoud Fadli of Doha Stadium and Mutasim Aidarous of Al Arab newspaper follows UAE’s earlier refusal to let in five of a six-member media team from Qatar.
The journalists, who were travelling with valid visas to UAE to cover the Asian Cup being held in Abu Dhabi, were allegedly harassed at the airport for about 12 hours before being sent back. The journalists from Qatar were also asked to give details of their income, addresses and phone numbers. Despite being bona fide members of the AIPS (International Sports Press Association), they were also asked questions if they wrote political articles.
The Article 3 of the AIPS statute guarantees the protection of dignity and right to practise their profession for all members. The deliberate maltreatment of journalists from Qatar in UAE by airport officials is in breach of Article 3.
After the news broke of the maltreatment of journalists from Qatar, the UAE media committee and airport authorities came under fire from different quarters. With the Qatar Sports Press Committee mounting pressure and demanding an investigation by AIPS into the UAE’s unethical behaviour towards its journalists, the latter relented and granted clearance to two journalists.
UAE is part of the Saudi-led bloc that has imposed a siege on Qatar since June 2017. As part of the blockade, the siege nations have barred citizens of Qatar from entering their territories.
On Thursday, Qatar inflicted a sleek 2-0 victory over bitter political rivals Saudi Arabia, before topping the pool and qualifying for the knockout stage on Thursday.
By Raajiv t Tripathi
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