Qatar’s BeIN loses appeal over $22m Egypt fine

BeIN was found to have breached anti-trust rules by forcing its Egyptian customers to replace their existing satellites to obtain BeIN services. (Reuters)
Updated 04 September 2018
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Qatar’s BeIN loses appeal over $22m Egypt fine

  • Competition authority praised the ruling and accused BeIN of abuse of its dominant position in the Egyptian market
  • In January, BeIN was also fined 400 million Egyptian pounds in a separate competition case

CAIRO: Qatari broadcaster BeIN has lost its appeal against a $22 million fine imposed by a Cairo court for breaching competition rules, Egyptian state media said Tuesday.
In March a Cairo economic court imposed a penalty of 400 million Egyptian pounds ($22.3 million) on BeIN and its chief executive, Nasser Al-Khelaifi, in a case brought by the Egyptian Competition Authority (ECA).
BeIN, known for broadcasting live football matches, was found to have breached anti-trust rules by forcing its Egyptian customers to replace their existing satellites to obtain BeIN services.
State-run Al-Ahram newspaper on Tuesday reported the fine had been upheld.
The ECA in a statement praised the ruling and accused BeIN of “abuse of its dominant position” in the Egyptian market.
In January, BeIN and Khelaifi were fined 400 million Egyptian pounds in a separate competition case.
The Cairo court said the firm had forced viewers to pay for events they may not be interested in, through its package deal system.
In both January and the subsequent ruling in March, BeIN rejected the decisions as having “no basis in fact or law.”
The Qatari firm was recently awarded exclusive rights to broadcast the English Premier League across the Middle East and North Africa for another three seasons.
Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates cut diplomatic and trade ties with Qatar in June last year, accusing Doha of supporting extremists and being too close to Iran.


Google staff discussed ways to fight Trump travel ban: WSJ

A Google logo in an office building in Zurich September 5, 2018. (REUTERS)
Updated 22 September 2018
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Google staff discussed ways to fight Trump travel ban: WSJ

  • An email from an employee of the Search Product Marketing division referred to brainstorming inside Google over how to respond to ban

WASHINGTON: Google employees discussed how to counter President Donald Trump’s 2017 travel ban by modifying search functions to help people contribute to immigration advocacy groups and contact lawmakers, the Wall Street Journal reported Friday.
They began the email discussion two days after Trump signed the first version of his travel ban targeting people from seven mainly Muslim countries, the paper reported.
Staff discussed how to tweak search functions and work against “islamophobic, algorithmically biased results from search terms ‘Islam’, ‘Muslim’, ‘Iran’, etc.,” the Journal reported.
They looked at similar measures for the search terms ‘Mexico’, ‘Hispanic’, ‘Latino’, etc.”
An email from an employee of the Search Product Marketing division referred to brainstorming inside Google over how to respond to ban.
Trump’s controversial measure was challenged in court and underwent several iterations before ultimately being upheld by the US Supreme Court.
The report is certain to anger Trump, who has accused Google of blocking conservative viewpoints in its search results.
Google told the Journal that none of the ideas discussed were ever implemented.
“Google has never manipulated its search results or modified any of its products to promote a particular political ideology — not in the current campaign season, not during the 2016 election, and not in the aftermath of President Trump’s executive order on immigration,” it said in a statement.
“Our processes and policies would not have allowed for any manipulation of search results to promote political ideologies,” it added.
Google was among 100 tech companies that filed a friend-of-the-court brief in February 2017 challenging the travel ban as harmful to US “business, innovation and growth.”