Qatar’s beIN caught offside in Turkish football viewing row

Akhisar’s players celebrate as they pose with the Turkish Ziraat trophy after the the Ziraat Turkish Cup final football match between Fenerbahce and Akhisar in Diyarbakir on May 10, 2018. (AFP)
Updated 07 August 2018
0

Qatar’s beIN caught offside in Turkish football viewing row

  • The broadcaster, which recently came under fire from Egyptian fans for the high price of World Cup packages, has now also fallen foul of supporters in Turkey

ANKARA: Qatari-owned beIN has found itself in the middle of another major football broadcasting rights row — this time in Turkey.

The broadcaster, which recently came under fire from Egyptian fans for the high price of World Cup packages, has now also fallen foul of supporters in Turkey.

Some disgruntled fans unwilling to pay subscription fees had been watching games on Twitter’s Periscope live streaming service.

But now the service will be blocked countrywide during Super League football matches after beIN-owned Digiturk went to court in an effort to protect its exclusive rights.

Ihsan Inan, a football fan based in Istanbul, said the high costs of Digiturk football packages had discouraged people with low incomes from paying for packages.

 “In the past, the broadcaster companies possessing the exclusive rights were airing one match per week without subscription. It was a fairer way to reach football fans and to avoid free riders,” he told Arab News.

The move has also come under fire from cyber rights campaigners who said it represents the first case of online censorship in the country.

Efe Kerem Sozeri, a researcher on cyber rights, said the case was another step in the wrong direction.

“First and foremost, it is Periscope (Twitter) who are responsible for any copyright violation. They do have a policy against this, even a form for copyright holders to report violations,” he said. 

“From the court order, it is clear that beIN / Digiturk knows exactly which three accounts violated its rights, and its legal representatives could instead report these accounts directly to Periscope and get them suspended immediately. These accounts seem to be removed, making the court ban even more curious,” he added. 

Sozeri noted that there are legal services that monitor online broadcasts against copyrighted content and help to get them taken down.

YouTube, for example, has an automated system that recognizes copyrighted material and removes it even before it goes online.

“So there are technologies to protect copyrights, proper channels to report and take down violations much faster and more effectively, but Turkey has a hammer and treats every problem as a nail,” he said.

Sozeri added that such decisions only encouraged the public to look for more ways to bypass government-imposed viewing restrictions.

“Use of counter-censorship technologies, such as using proxy services, VPNs and the Tor network in Turkey has historically climbed after every such milestone decision that restricted the country’s online freedoms more.

Certainly this decision will have the same effect on Turkish users,” he said.

Ozgehan Senyuva, a social scientist working on sport politics from Ankara’s Middle East Technical University, said the Periscope match ban reflected the financial pressures facing the broadcaster.

“We have the lowest rate of attendance in stadiums compared to other European countries. The football teams, including the biggest ones, are on the verge of financial bankruptcy.” 

He said that many fans were not willing to pay to watch poorer quality football, leading them to free alternatives such as Periscope.

Digiturk was not immediately available for comment.


Indian journalist condemns Twitter for blocking account after abuse online

Updated 19 February 2019
0

Indian journalist condemns Twitter for blocking account after abuse online

  • Dutt's account was blocked after she posted details of men who allegedly stalked and threatened her
  • Dutt accused Twitter of being “vile enablers of sexual abuse and violence”

MUMBAI/NEW DELHI: One of India’s best-known women journalists, Barkha Dutt, launched a scathing attack on Twitter Inc. on Tuesday for temporarily locking her account after she posted details of men who allegedly stalked and threatened her.
Dutt said some people had posted and circulated her phone number on Twitter, enabling the harassment, which she said included threats of rape and images of genitalia being sent to her phone.
Dutt tweeted some of the threats and images on Monday, and she included phone numbers and names of the men who allegedly threatened her, after which her account was suspended.
She posted her complaint against Twitter in a tweet on Tuesday, after her account was re-activated.
“I would like to place on record my absolute horror and disgust at Twitter’s encouragement of sexual abuse and gender inequality,” said Dutt, a former managing editor at news channel NDTV and a regular columnist with the Washington Post.
Dutt accused Twitter of being “vile enablers of sexual abuse and violence.”
Twitter said it did not comment on individual accounts for privacy and security reasons and it referred to its rules that users may not publish or post other people’s private information without their express authorization and permission.
“If we identify a Tweet that violates the Twitter Rules, there are a range of enforcement options we may pursue. These include requiring a user to delete a Tweet, and/or being temporarily locked out of their account before they can Tweet again,” a spokeswoman for Twitter said in an email.
The social media platform is already facing scrutiny in India.
Its chief executive, Jack Dorsey, has been called to appear before a parliamentary panel this month to discuss initiatives being taken to safeguard citizen’s rights on social media and online news platforms.
The hearing comes soon after the conservative Youth for Social Media Democracy group accused Twitter of left-wing bias and protested outside its office in New Delhi this month.
Dorsey did not appear at a hearing earlier this month.
A person with direct knowledge of the matter told Reuters on Tuesday the parliamentary panel had written an email to Dorsey, reiterating its demand that he appear at a Feb. 25 hearing.
Twitter declined to comment on whether Dorsey would attend.
Social media giants in India are being put under greater scrutiny ahead of a general election due before May, in which Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his ruling party are seeking re-election.
Several social media companies are overhauling policies to curb misinformation ahead of the vote.