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Saturday, September 18, 2021

African journalists organisation slams ‘despicable’ UAE campaign against Qatar 2022

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The federation previously denounced attempts by several states to lure its members into calling for a boycott of the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar.

Delegates at the Federation of African Journalists [FAJ], a Pan-African organisation, denounced attempts believed to be perpetrated by the UAE to manipulate journalists in Africa to participate in a campaign against Qatar’s ability to host the 2022 FIFA World Cup.

The signatories of a statement slammed the UAE’s suspicious movements and attempts to rally African journalists against the World Cup in Qatar by trying to manipulating members of the press into inaccurately covering the events in the Gulf state.

“[We] note with dismay recent attempts by external elements from the United Arab Emirates who deliberately tried to manipulate journalists’ organisations in Africa to issue public statements or campaign against 2022 FIFA World Cup,” read the first part of a joint statement released by the FAJ during an international conference in the Ghanaian capital.

The International Federation of Journalists, the All-African Trade Union Federation, a representative from the International Federation of Football [FIFA] and Ghanaian President Nana Akufo-Addo were also in attendance.

The statement went on to address concerns over the use of African journalists and press institutions “to settle scores in political disputes”, forcing members of the FAJ to go beyond their “primary interests, scope and mandate”.

It also highlighted the challenges journalists in Africa have faced in providing proper coverage of global events, including the World Cup.

Read also: African journalists urged to dismiss ‘lobbying attempts’ to boycott Qatar 2022

“[The federation rejects] with contempt these despicable attempts to use and manipulate African journalists and their organisations as tools to challenge the organisation of 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar,” added the statement.
The FAJ reiterated its support to the International Trade Unions Confederation’s [ITUC] positions in workers’ rights and the progress achieved in Qatar, and expressed their commitment to ensure African journalists provide accurate coverage of the global sporting event.
Furthermore, the federation called on the Confederation of African Football [CAF] and African national teams to be aware of the reported manipulative attempts.
“[The federation calls] upon CAF and FIFA to investigate and penalise the people and forces behind this unprecedented interference in global soccer events which has the potential to compromise African journalists reporting on the world’s biggest football event,” read the statement.
The FAJ also urged the formation of “a close working relationship with CAF to facilitate and advance the work and interests of African journalists”.

‘Lobbying attempts’

In April, the FAJ previously denounced attempts by “several states” to lure its members into calling for a boycott of the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar.

FAJ’s President Comrade Sadiq Ibrahim Ahmed addressed growing “lobbying” attempts by “national interests in the Gulf” that appear to be targeting journalist unions to sensationalise reporting on migrant worker rights in Qatar.

“Getting involved in Gulf politics threatens to divert us from pressing issues such as safety for journalists and the fight for freedom of expression, which should be the concern of anybody who wishes African journalism well,” he said, stressing the federation’s commitment to the position of the ITUC.

Those remarks were made amid international calls for boycotting the event in Qatar, triggered by an article released by The Guardian headlined, “Revealed: 6,500 migrant workers have died in Qatar as it gears up for World Cup”.

The report was dismissed as inaccurate and misleading by Qatari officials as it inaccurately linked the “shocking” death rate with Qatar’s start of the World Cup 2022 journey a decade ago, without clarifying the reasons for the deaths.

Norway and The Netherlands were among the countries who called for shunning Qatar 2022. Their teams launched an on-pitch protest at the event’s European qualifiers to ensure maximum publicity for the stunt.

The Dutch football federation later admitted to Doha News it was never in favour of the Qatari bid for the 2022 edition of the World Cup due to its “lack of football history and harsh temperatures”.

However, the KNVB said it does not believe that a boycott will help.

“If you want to help improve the situation, you go there and raise awareness,” KNVB told Doha News“Boycott does not help the people working there.”


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