In Belgium, investigators looking into graft in the European Union (EU) have alleged that several MEPs accepted bribes from Qatar in return for furthering the country’s interests in EU communications and decision-making. The scandal has spurred increased scrutiny of the EU institutions and their vulnerability to corruption and foreign influence. The scandal was uncovered in an investigation by the Belgian State Security intelligence aimed at identifying instances of interference in public decision-making.
A contentious provision has been added to the conditions for granting foreign media accreditation, ahead of the 2022 Men’s Football World Cup. The provision prohibits journalists from filming or photographing in “residential properties, private businesses and industrial zones”. A previous ban on reporting which would harm “Qatari public discipline, behaviour or Islamic customs” had been lifted. However, with Qatar in the spotlight over its documented mistreatment of LGBTQIA+ individuals and migrant workers, the new provision has been criticized as an attempt to prevent interviews with those groups and thereby coverage of sensitive topics.