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.


Twitter blocks accounts of Iranian state media outlets

Updated 21 July 2019
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Twitter blocks accounts of Iranian state media outlets

  • Twitter said the accounts harassed people linked to the Baha’i faith
  • The Baha’i faith is a religious minority that has long faced persecution in Iran

WASHINGTON: A day after Twitter suspended the accounts of several Iranian state media outlets, the social networking service said Saturday it acted after harassment of people linked to the Baha’i faith.
Amid soaring tensions in the region, heightened by Iran’s seizure on Friday of a British-flagged tanker, some of the affected media outlets had speculated that the suspensions were related to their coverage of the seizure.
But Twitter cited what it said was the coordinated and targeted harassment of people linked to the Baha’i faith, a religious minority that has long faced persecution in Iran.
It did not name the suspended accounts, and said it was continuing to investigate the matter.
“Account suspended. Twitter suspends accounts which violate the Twitter Rules,” read English-language messages on each of the Iranian media outlets’ accounts.
Mehr news agency, which is close to moderate conservatives in Iran, said its Farsi-language account appeared to have been blocked late Friday following its reports on the seizure of the tanker Stena Impero in the strategic Strait of Hormuz.
Iran’s Revolutionary Guard said it seized the Swedish-owned tanker for breaking “international maritime rules” in the strait, a chokepoint for around a third of the world’s sea-borne oil.
Mehr’s Farsi-language Twitter page was inaccessible on Saturday, along with those of the official IRNA news agency and the agency of the Young Journalists’ Club.
“Since last night and after seizure of a British tanker in the Strait of Hormuz the account of the Young Journalists’ Club and some other users have been suspended,” the YJC said on its website.
Mehr noted that its Mehr Diplomacy account, which publishes analysis and interviews on foreign policy, was also offline.
Another account taken down belonged to Ali Akbar Raefipoor, a hard-line public speaker.
None of the owners of the suspended accounts said they had been given any reason for the move by Twitter.
The micro-blogging platform is banned in Iran, but many officials still have accounts and people access them by using a virtual private network, or VPN, to bypass censorship.