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Posted On: 9 January 2019 03:30 pm

Qatar media delegation for AFC Asian Cup refused UAE entry had all required visas and documents (UPDATED)

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It has come to light that the Qatar media delegation that was stopped from entering the United Arab Emirates (UAE) through Dubai to cover the AFC Asian Cup which began on 5 January was made up of six members and not five. One member who was an Indian national, was allowed to enter, but the remaining five which included one national from Sudan, one from Jordan and three from Egypt, were sent back to Doha, even though all six of them had the same visas and other necessary documentation. The Indian national left the UAE and returned back to Doha the next day after his colleagues were sent back.

Emirati officials claim the Qatar media delegation had tourist/visit visas and not special visas required to enter Dubai for the AFC Asian Cup. If that had been the case, Kuwait Airways that flew the Qatar media delegation from Doha-Kuwait-Dubai would not have allowed them to board the plane in the first place.

The question is if all six members had the same visas for the football tournament, then why were five of them barred from entering and one allowed to enter? This in itself, refutes the claims of the Emirati officials, don't you think?

The journalists who reside in Qatar are also members of the Qatar Sports Press Committee and the International Sports Press Association. Eventually, after waiting for more than half a day, the four waiting journalists were told by airport officials that they could not enter and had to return back to Doha via Kuwait because they did not have the right entry visas and relevant documents.

Media accreditations for the Qatar-based media delegation

Below are images which show that the Qatar-based media delegation had the necessary media accreditations which work as all-access passes to cover the AFC Asian Cup hosted by the UAE this year. The football tournament started on 5 January and will go on till 1 February 2019.

Media Accreditation Qatar
Image: Media accreditation (passes for the AFC Asian Cup) and related correspondence

UAE entry visas for Qatar-based media delegation

Similarly, if you look at the images below, you can see that the Qatar media delegation had the correct visas to enter the UAE, and yet their visas were rejected, and they were barred from entering Dubai.

UAE entry visas
UAE entry visas
Title: UAE entry visas of all five journalists from Qatar

These images above show that all five members of the media delegation from Qatar had the same type of visa; four were refused entry, while one was allowed to enter the country.

Statement of AFC tournament director on 'Riyadhi' website

These images also contradict claims made by the football tournament director about the legality of the delegation’s visas in a statement he gave to the ‘Riyadhi’ website (see image below), especially since it let one member enter, and denied the other four entry

AFC tournament director statement on 'Riyadhi' website
Title: AFC tournament director statement on 'Riyadhi' website

Qatar Sports Committee investigating refusal of entry by UAE

The Qatar Sports Committee (QSC) is investigating the matter and has called on international human rights organisations and bodies to stand against these actions against media freedom and denounce actions that stand to violate human rights in the media and otherwise.

The QSC has also called upon AFC and FIFA to investigate the denial of entry into the UAE of the five journalists representing Qatar's media delegation.

What will happen next? Let's wait and see!

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