Fans call the BBC “disrespectful” for airing a protracted pre-packaged segment criticizing Qatar’s human rights record rather than the glamorous opening ceremony.
In addition to hundreds of other performers, lights, flames, and plenty of glitz, Qatar‘s World Cup opening ceremony featured actor Morgan Freeman and BTS K-pop star Jungkook. However, viewers tuning in via the BBC were left out of the magic as the British broadcaster decided to skip the first half of the ceremony.
When Chelsea and Tottenham Hotspur’s Women’s Super League match ended, BBC One initially decided to continue covering it. However, rather than switching to the live performance, it aired a previously recorded report on Qatar’s human rights record.
Before criticizing Qatar’s treatment of women and migrant workers, free speech, and a number of other issues, Match of the Day host Gary Lineker stated at the beginning of the segment, “It’s the most controversial World Cup in history and a ball hasn’t even been kicked.”
“Ever since FIFA chose Qatar back in 2010, the smallest nation to have hosted football’s greatest competition has faced some big questions, from accusations of corruption in the bidding process to the treatment of migrant workers who built the stadiums where many lost their lives,” Lineker said. Here, homosexuality is prohibited. The spotlight is on women’s rights and freedom of speech. “.
“A tournament is scheduled against that background; it will be viewed and enjoyed by people all over the world. Says FIFA, focus on football. Well, we will, at least for a short while. “.
Following Lineker’s opening remarks, BBC’s Ros Atkins condemned Qatar for nearly 30 minutes. Using a combination of interviews, footage, and graphics, Atkins attacked the Gulf state on a number of fronts, including its violations of human rights and the environmental impact of the event.
The omission, which many referred to as “disrespectful,” infuriated viewers of BBC One as well as ITV.
The BBC’s decision to not broadcast the World Cup opening ceremony and instead release more virtue-signaling babble about how terrible it is, is outrageously disrespectful to Qatar. If they are that horrified, they ought to bring home their sizable army of workers and spare us this ridiculous hypocrisy, Piers Morgan tweeted.
The BBC begins its coverage by stating, “It’s the most contentious World Cup in history. Says a lot considering Putin’s Russia hosted it the previous time, wrote Kristyan Benedict, the UK Campaigns Manager for Amnesty International.
Scott Benton, a Conservative member of parliament, blasted the broadcaster for choosing to cover the event from Qatar while also decrying the Gulf nation.
“Overpaid @GaryLineker and co. lecturing the world on climate emissions, human rights, and more. Why went if they were that bothered when they could have saved thousands of dollars?
The BBC’s “stark contrast to Fox Coverage in the United States” was praised by British-American broadcaster Roger Bennett, who welcomed the change.
Reporters asked BBC One for a comment on the programming choice; however, BBC One only said that “Full build up and coverage of the World Cup has been available across the BBC, including the opening ceremony on iPlayer (online)”.
At least 60,000 football fans watched the live event on Sunday, where Qatar was soundly defeated by Ecuador, 2-0, in the first game.