Saudi Arabia curbs access to Qatar-linked broadcaster

Saudi Arabia curbs access to Qatar-linked broadcaster
BeIN Sport logo in Doha, Qatar, on Tuesday. (REUTERS)
Updated 12 October 2017

Saudi Arabia curbs access to Qatar-linked broadcaster

Saudi Arabia curbs access to Qatar-linked broadcaster

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia has called time out on new subscriptions to Qatar-linked satellite television network beIn Sports, a major broadcaster of international football across the region.
The measure is the latest move against Qatar, after the Kingdom and its allies severed diplomatic ties with Doha.
Saudi Arabia has suspended subscription sales and renewals, as well as beIn Sports receiver imports, its audiovisual authority said in a statement late Monday.
It said it took action because beIn Sports lacked “prior authorizations,” but added existing subscribers would be unaffected.
The broadcaster’s website was blocked as of Tuesday in Saudi Arabia, although customers in the Kingdom told AFP they were still receiving its television programs.
But an adviser to the Saudi royal court, Saud Al-Qahtani, hinted on Twitter that the whistle might also soon be blown on beIn Sports coverage. “There is a huge legal loophole in their monopoly of the broadcast rights,” he said of beIn Sports, which offers coverage of football and a variety of other sports.
Al-Qahtani said there would soon be “alternative solutions, free or for a nominal fee.”
Bahrain, which has also severed diplomatic ties with Qatar, has taken similar measures against the broadcaster, the official BNA news agency said early Tuesday.
Since last week, beIn Sports, a subsidiary of the Al Jazeera global news network, has no longer been accessible on two television providers in the UAE. Saudi Arabia last week ordered shut the local office of Al Jazeera, which has been banned from the airwaves in the Kingdom as well as in the UAE.