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BBC paid for ‘uncritical’ movies promoting Qatar forward of World Cup regardless of human rights considerations

The BBC has come beneath fireplace for accepting fee to promote Qatar forward of the World Cup, producing flattering movies fronted by the mannequin Jodie Kidd – regardless of human rights considerations within the Gulf state.

BBC StoryWorks – a part of the company’s business arm – has produced three “blandly uncritical” movies for Qatar Tourism which have amassed greater than half one million views.

Amnesty Worldwide UK questioned the nationwide broadcaster’s involvement, saying “Qatar-funded advertorials” produced by the BBC risked “blurring the road between journalism and fundraising”, in addition to arguing the movies “are successfully permitting Qatar to airbrush human rights abuses from sight” .

Qatar’s internet hosting of the World Cup, on account of kick off in November, has been a supply of big controversy. Male homosexuality is outlawed within the Gulf state, girls’s rights suppressed and the plight of migrant staff has repeatedly been highlighted.

In a single movie, marked with an “Advert” hashtag on YouTube, Kidd – billed as a “International Traveller” – lauds “the Qatar meals scene”, describing it as “extremely thrilling” in a voiceover, making reference to “new flavors , and herbs and spices” as she is proven wandering across the capital, Doha.

In one of many movies, Kidd went paddle boarding on Doha’s shoreline

(BBC Story Works)

One other movie promoted the inexperienced credentials of inns in Qatar. The video, uploaded to YouTube in 2020, was produced for Qatar Inexperienced Constructing Council [QGBC] – which was a member of Qatar Basis – by BBC StoryWorks.

Former England soccer captain David Beckham – an envoy for the match – ​​has been criticized for showing in a video marketing campaign selling Qatar as a journey vacation spot. A spokesperson for Beckham informed BBC Sport final yr: “David has been visiting Qatar commonly for over a decade and went on to play for [Qatar-owned] PSG – so he has seen the eagerness for soccer within the nation and the long-term dedication that is been made to host the World Cup and delivering a long-lasting legacy for the area.”

Peter Frankental, Amnesty Worldwide UK’s Financial Affairs Director, mentioned: “We have already seen David Beckham’s heavily-criticised shiny movies, that the Qatari authorities are keen to spend huge sums to advertise a constructive picture of their nation.

“Paid-for ‘advertorial’ content material is widespread on many information websites, however within the lead-up to a World Cup affected by human rights points these blandly uncritical movies are successfully permitting Qatar to airbrush human rights abuses from sight.

“Preparations for the World Cup have shone an necessary highlight on the exploitation of migrant staff and the nation’s repressive anti-LGBTI legal guidelines, so is that this actually the time for the BBC to be internet hosting a sequence of movies uncritically extolling the virtues of Qatar as a vacationer vacation spot?

“The BBC’s journalism on Qatar has produced some highly effective and hard-hitting investigations, with its personal reporters harassed for this, and by cashing in on Qatar-funded advertorials … earlier than the World Cup kicks off the BBC dangers blurring the road between journalism and fundraising. ”

A BBC spokesperson mentioned: “BBC Information reviews extensively and impartially on the problems surrounding Qatar internet hosting the World Cup, together with allegations of human proper abuses and exploitation. Working promoting outdoors of the UK, which is clearly labeled as such and is totally separate to our editorial output, permits us to spend money on our world-class journalism.”

A Qatari authorities official mentioned: “Tourism is a precedence sector for Qatar to diversify its financial system and drive private-sector participation. Just like the UK and different nations around the globe, Qatar invests in tourism advertising and marketing to draw guests. Qatar is the quickest rising tourism vacation spot within the Center East and goals to welcome six million guests by 2030. All of Qatar’s advertising and marketing actions strictly adhere to the UK’s authorized and regulatory necessities.”

Qatar Basis mentioned: “The video that has been highlighted was a part of a worldwide sequence of movies initiated by the World Inexperienced Constructing Council, of which the Qatar Inexperienced Constructing Council was proud to be an element. Our participation and contribution to that sequence was targeted on the Inexperienced Key program that we had been operating in an effort to advertise sustainability in one among Qatar’s quickest rising sectors.”

It added: “QGBC, now Earthna, is extremely pleased with our position in educating, selling, and defining requirements in sustainable hospitality for Qatar. Our work with the World Inexperienced Constructing Council and BBC Storyworks was an necessary software for us to inform our story to native and worldwide audiences.”

Qatar Tourism and a consultant of Kidd had been each contacted for remark.

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