BBC reacts to ‘inappropriate’ question posed to Ghizlane Chebbak

BBC reacts to ‘inappropriate’ question posed to Ghizlane Chebbak

Before the first match of the Moroccan selection in the Women’s World Cup, a BBC journalist dared to ask the captain of Morocco, Ghizlane Chebbak, if the team had homosexual players. A question deemed “political” and highly “inappropriate”.

Confronted for their opening match in Germany, the Atlas lionesses started their World Cup badly with a 6-0 defeat. Despite this limping start, these Moroccan champions have won the love and respect of the public.

A few hours before this meeting, captain Ghizlane Chebbak was treated to a most disturbing question at a press conference.

During this meeting with the media, she was questioned by a BBC journalist on the presence or absence of homosexual players in the selection, and how they are treated: “In Morocco, it is illegal to have a homosexual relationship. Do you have gay players in your team and how is their life in Morocco? »

As intrusive as it is unwelcome, this question was only asked to provoke the Moroccan players. This question refers to an old, very caricatural stereotype mixing football practice by women and homosexuality, and it depicts a very misogynistic attitude from the BBC journalist who did not even show up because he knew that his question was completely inappropriate and had an unhealthy intention.

His question was considered “political” by the moderator of this press conference, but the journalist in question maintained his position by hammering: “No, it’s not political. It’s about people, it has nothing to do with politics. Please let her answer the question. »

According to article 489 of the penal code in Morocco, homosexuality is punishable by 6 months to three years in prison, with a fine of up to around 1000 DH, and the journalist was fully aware of this by asking his question and was endangering these players by questioning them on this subject in order to create sensationalism and affect the image of Morocco and Moroccan players.

This question, which lacks ethics and the insistence of the British journalist, caused a scandal and dismayed not only in Morocco but the entire profession.

Questioned by CNN, the BBC kept a low profile by recognizing, through an unidentified spokesperson, that indeed “the question was inappropriate”. However, the BBC did not make a public apology and did not mention the name of this spokesperson.

CBC Sports reporter Cherine Ahmed, who was also in the room at the time of the press conference, wrote that the reporter had “completely overstepped the mark.”

“Asking a player to talk about her teammates, whether they are gay and how it affects them, when you know it’s not allowed, is weird and inappropriate. The captain cannot reveal players or comment on politics because it could be dangerous for them,” wrote Cherine Ahmed.

Indeed, football, synonymous with inclusion and respect, is a sport that is meant to unite and transcend cultural and social barriers.

As for Ghizlane Chebbak, she left it to the moderation of the meeting to manage this situation. In an exemplary reaction, the player showed restraint despite the astonishment caused by this inappropriate, racist and provocative question.

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