Saudi Arabia permanently revokes beIN Sports license

The beIN Sports team of (left to right) Robert Pires, Arsene Wenger, Marcel Desailly and Alexandre Ruiz at the Stade de France in 2016. (Getty Images)
Updated 20 August 2018
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Saudi Arabia permanently revokes beIN Sports license

  • The GAC accused the Qatari-owned channel of exploiting its dominant position in the run-up to the 2016 European Championships
  • In April last year, beIN Sports was hit with a fine of SR10,000 and ordered to stop its monopolizing practices

LONDON: Saudi Arabian authorities have permanently revoked the license of beIN Sports after accusing the Qatari-owned channel of illegal monopolizing practices.
The General Authority for Competition (GAC) released a statement revealing its decision and announcing it had also slapped beIN Sports with a SR10 million ($2.6 million) fine due to the alleged violations.
“The GAC clarified it has received many complaints from citizens and participants against beIN Sports since March 2016 for violating competition rules in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia,” it said in a statement.
The GAC accused the Qatari-owned channel of exploiting its dominant position in the run-up to the 2016 European Championships, forcing fans wanting to watch the football tournament to subscribe to other channels, including non-sports ones.
In addition, football-hungry viewers were forced to renew their subscription to the main channels for an entire year as a condition to watch the Euros, even though their subscription should have covered the period during which the competition, won by Cristiano Ronaldo’s Portugal, took place.

 

In April last year, beIN Sports was hit with a fine of SR10,000 and ordered to stop the monopolizing practices.
“These are clear violations of the competition’s rules. The board of directors thus decided to take the appropriate measures to end these practices and the monopoly violations committed by BeIN,” the statement said at the time.
It is beIN’s failure to implement changes that has resulted in the complete revoking of its license. The channel appealed against the 2017 decision before the administrative court of the board of grievances in Riyadh. The administrative justice found the case of BeIN Sport against the GAC inadmissible.
As a result, the channel’s license was permanently revoked and it was hit with the mammoth fine.
The move is the latest in a long-running dispute between the Kingdom and the Qatari channel. Saudi authorities have accused beIN Sports of engaging in a media smear campaign against the country.
During the World Cup the channel was also accused of infringing broadcasting standards by “politicizing” coverage of the football tournament.
It led legal experts to claim that FIFA should launch an investigation into why the broadcaster brought politics into play during coverage of World Cup games.
The broadcaster was not immediately available for comment.

FASTFACTS

3.2bn – Number of people around the world who tuned in to watch the World Cup, according to FIFA – almost half the world’s population.


Indian journalist condemns Twitter for blocking account after abuse online

Updated 19 February 2019
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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.