DOHA, (AFP) – A BBC journalist invited to Qatar to examine the living conditions of workers building infrastructure for the 2022 football World Cup was detained for more than 24 hours, the broadcaster reported.

Mark Lobel, a BBC business correspondent based in Dubai, said he and colleagues were detained in the capital Doha as they went to film a group of Nepalese labourers earlier this month.

It is the second time in weeks that Qatari authorities have arrested journalists attempting to report on the living conditions of the Gulf emirate’s large migrant workforce.In March, a German television reporter and colleagues were detained while filming in an area of Doha where many labourers live.

The arrests come as Qatar is engaged in a public relations drive to try to counter international criticism of its treatment of migrant workers.

Lobel said he and three colleagues were held for more than 24 hours, spending two nights in prison.

He was then prevented from leaving the country for almost a week.

No charges were laid against the BBC crew but their equipment and belongings were confiscated and have not yet been returned.

He wrote on the BBC News website that the arrest was “dramatic”.