The Federation of African Journalists (FAJ) has expressed concerns over what it described as plans to manipulate journalists’ organisations in Africa to issue public statements against the 2022 FIFA World Cup holding in Qatar.
The Federation therefore urged CAF and FIFA “to investigate and penalize 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”.
According to a communique issued at the end of its Conference held in Accra, Ghana, the FAJ said there is a desperate attempt to discredit and smear Qatar as it prepares to host the FIFA World Cup.
In the communique signed by FAJ President, Mr. Sadiq Ibrahim Ahmed, the Federation Alleged that UAE has been making efforts to use Africa and its institutions to settle scores in political disputes and drag African journalists into activities beyond their primary interests, scope and mandate.
While condemning attempts to use and manipulate African journalists and their organisations as tools to challenge the organisation of the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar, the Federation urged CAF and the qualifying National teams from Africa to be vigilant and ensure that they are not manipulated into any of such campaign
It noted that the State of Qatar has initiated positive and commendable human and labour rights reforms that are leading to better spaces for the enjoyment of labour rights, especially by migrants and workers in Qatar.
Notably, the State of Qatar has successfully dismantled the Kafala system, which is now a model for countries in the Middle East to emulate. Already, reports are indicating that Saudi Arabia has started to borrow the Qatar model to reforming the Kafala, though partly because it is not reforming through a consultative and collaborative process as Qatar did.
Unfortunately and worryingly, the UAE is still involved in the utilisation of the Kafala slavery-like labour recruitment system and practice that are used to exploit and abuse the rights of workers, especially migrants and foreign workers who dominate the UAE workforce.
FAJ also said it is aligning with these reforms Qatar has initiated, while also backing position taken by the International Trade Unions Confederation (ITUC) about the labour rights situation in Qatar.
Recall that the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC) and the International Labour Organisation (ILO) have noted and applauded the steady and genuine industrial relations reforms that the State of Qatar has made.
At a recent European Union Parliament Public Hearing on the rights of migrant workers in the Middle East, the ITUC and the ILO, whilst noting that there are still work to be done, the two organisations singled out the State of Qatar for commendation for making remarkable progress in reforming her industrial relations climate.