Saudi Arabia applauds FIFA ‘red card’ for beoutQ pirate broadcaster

FIFA said it is taking legal action against beoutQ for illegal broadcasts of the World Cup. (AFP)
Updated 13 July 2018
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Saudi Arabia applauds FIFA ‘red card’ for beoutQ pirate broadcaster

  • FIFA says it will take legal action against the pirate TV channel, which has been illegally broadcasting the World Cup
  • Saudi Arabia says the move would supplement the kingdom's efforts to combat beoutQ

JEDDAH: Saudi Arabia welcomed on Thursday FIFA’s announcement that it will take legal action in the Kingdom against a pirate TV channel illegally broadcasting the World Cup. 

Riyadh has denied allegations that beoutQ is based in Saudi Arabia and is working to combat its operations.

The Ministry of Media said the FIFA action would “supplement the relentless efforts by the KSA Ministry of Commerce and Investment in combatting beoutQ's activities and beIN’s illegal broadcasting within the country.”

The statement said this would reinforce Saudi Arabia’s efforts to protecting intellectual property rights within the Kingdom.

The Ministry of Media said it blamed beIN Sports, a subsidiary of the Al Jazeera Media Network, for “falsely and unfairly” connecting Saudi Arabia with beoutQ.

Saudi Arabia has banned Qatar-based Al Jazeera and beIN Sports from broadcasting in the country as part of a boycott against Doha over its support for extremist groups.

beIN Sports says it holds the rights to broadcast the 2018 World Cup in the Middle East and North Africa.

The ministry accused the network of providing a media platform for “terrorists to propagate their violent message.”

The statement reported on the Saudi Press Agency said that while beoutQ's pirate broadcasts have been available in the Kingdom, its set-top boxes are available in, other nations in the Middle East and North Africa and the pirate broadcasts are targeted at that region, including Qatar but also Eastern Europe.

The ministry said beIN Sports had engineered a smear campaign against Saudi Arabia.


Egypt targets social media with new law

Updated 17 July 2018
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Egypt targets social media with new law

  • Social media accounts and blogs with more than 5,000 followers on sites such as Twitter and Facebook will be treated as media outlets
  • The media council will supervise the law and take action against violations

CAIRO: Egypt’s parliament has passed a law giving the state powers to block social media accounts and penalize journalists held to be publishing fake news.
Under the law passed on Monday social media accounts and blogs with more than 5,000 followers on sites such as Twitter and Facebook will be treated as media outlets, which makes them subject to prosecution for publishing false news or incitement to break the law.
The Supreme Council for the Administration of the Media, headed by an official appointed by President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi, will supervise the law and take action against violations.
The bill prohibits the establishment of websites without obtaining a license from the Supreme Council and allows it to suspend or block existing websites, or impose fines on editors.
The law, which takes effect after it is ratified by El-Sisi, also states that journalists can only film in places that are not prohibited, but does not explain further.
Supporters of El-Sisi say the law is intended to safeguard freedom of expression and it was approved after consultations with judicial experts and journalists.
But critics say it will give legal basis to measures the government has been taking to crack down on dissent and extend its control over social media.
Sherif Mansour, Middle East and North Africa program coordinator for the Committee to Protect Journalists, said the vague wording of the law allows authorities to interpret violations and control the media.
“That power of interpretation has been a constant powerful legal and executive tool that was used to justify excessive aggressive and exceptional measures to go after journalists,” he told Reuters.
Hundreds of news sites and blogs have been blocked in recent months and around a dozen people have been arrested this year and charged with publishing false news, many of them journalists or prominent government critics.