A female reporter from Argentina was robbed live on air while reporting from Qatar on the World Cup, with her money, documents and passport stolen from her handbag. Dominique Metzger was reporting live from the Corniche area of Doha in the lead-up to the tournament's opening match when she claimed her belongings had been stolen.
The video of the incident shows Metzger reporting in Doha while being surrounded by local football fans when someone stole the money and documents from her handbag. However, what is shocking is the unexpected response she got from the police after she reported the incident to the authorities.
Unsafe in Qatar
Metzger said she reported the event to the local police and was taken aback by their response in a statement following the occurrence. She told her network Todo Noticias (TN) that officials had promised to identify the culprit and had claimed she could choose the punishment for the alleged robber.
"I had my small bag on me with all the things that one needs, my wallet, the keys to our hotel room, some napkins," Metzger told a TN network anchor.
"And you were dancing, right?" the anchor asked her.
"Yes, 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," the Metzger replied.
The anchor questioned her if she believed it was a pickpocket who stole her wallet. Although the crime was not caught on video, footage of her dancing while carrying her bag by her side was caught on camera.
"I didn't realize at that moment, you know you're live on air, with music and crowds around you, and I was focused on you talking to me too. So I wasn't paying attention.
"After I finish my live report, I wanted to take my wallet to buy a water bottle and then realized I didn't have it," she said.
However, the shock for Metzger didn't end there. There was more to come.
Stunned by the Response
Metzger said that when she went to report her misplaced wallet, she was immediately disregarded because she is a woman. She claimed that she was dismissed after being informed that her wallet would eventually "appear."
"Male police won't register you," Metzger told her network. "As soon as I got to the police station, they took me to another place where there were only women. I asked why I was there and they told me as I'm a woman, it has to be a policewoman who has to help me."
Once she was sent to a policewoman, the Argentine TV reporter was taken aback by the response of Qatari policewomen. "The moment I was being taken declaration was shocking. They told me, 'What justice do you want? What sentence do you want us to give him? Do you want him to be sentenced to five years in prison? Do you want him to be deported?'" Metzger said.
In fact, Metzger only said that she wanted her misplaced goods safely recovered and did not ask for any specific penalty. Although it is unknown whether the reporter got her belongings back, the Qatari government has made an effort to lessen crime during the competition.
According to reports, stadiums in Qatar have about 15,000 facial recognition cameras installed. The incident with Metzger is the second in a string of encounters that journalists have had in recent days.
The incident with the Argentine journalist comes after the Qatar Supreme Committee last week hurriedly apologized to Danish network TV2 after one of its journalists was threatened by security personnel while live on air.
An official statement read: "Tournament organizers are aware of an incident where a Danish broadcast crew were mistakenly interrupted during a live broadcast in one of Qatar's tourist destinations.
TV2 reporter Rasmus Tantholdt was accosted by security personnel who had pulled up in a golf buggy while participating in a live broadcast.
He was immediately warned that his camera would be shattered and destroyed when it became clear that he was not welcome to record. The video, which soon went viral on social media, shows Tantholdt switching to English to seek clarification on any possible violations of any filming regulations 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.