Saudi-Egyptian sports alliance to replace blocked Qatari beIN Sports

Updated 20 June 2017

Saudi-Egyptian sports alliance to replace blocked Qatari beIN Sports

JEDDAH: The frequency of a new unencrypted sports TV network that will replace the blocked Qatari beIN Sports is set to be announced on Wednesday, Saudi Media City Chairman Muflih Al-Hafatah said on Twitter.
PBS Sport is launching in the region on Arabsat in alliance with Egypt and will be based in Cairo. Al-Hafatah described the channels as “Egyptian with a 100 percent Saudi capital.”
He tweeted: “New channels will be free as much as possible in accordance with what international laws permit.” He added that if encryption is required, the prices will be affordable for everyone.
A press conference is due to take place after next week’s Eid holiday, to offer further details about the new sports channels, Al-Hafatah said. The new PBS network will include 11 channels in high definition (HD). All channels will use the 4K-resolution technology.
PBS Sport announced on its official Twitter account that it has signed a contract with the Argentinian veteran footballer Diego Maradona to join the team of sports analysts, as well as the Saudi retired footballer Nawaf Al-Temyat.
The new channels will provide sports fanatics with a new service after the blocking or restriction placed on Qatar’s beIN sports channels, along with arms of the Al Jazeera news channel, in some countries amid the ongoing diplomatic row in the Gulf.
“Away from politics and ranging of our policies in our homeland, we won’t allow a state that sponsors terrorism to monopolize television entertainment in our Arab countries,” Al-Hafatah tweeted, in reference to Qatar.
The Qatar network broadcasts popular football tournaments such as Spanish La Liga and Copa del Rey, UEFA Europa League, and English Premier League.
Prices announced on the PBS Sport Twitter account are SR80 ($21) for monthly subscriptions, SR400 ($106) for six months and SR750 ($200) for a year.
What potential subscribers are looking for from the new service is a variety of sports analysis and commentary, and high quality in the broadcasting of games.
“Fast planning to establish high-quality new sports channels is challenging and needs time and preparation,” Khalid Attiya, 43-year-old football tournaments enthusiast, told Arab News.
Attiya currently has a beIN Sports subscription that he renewed on May 1, a month before the Qatari crisis, for which he paid SR1,350 ($360).
“I have not received any notification that my current subscription would be suspended,” he added.
Among the rights that beIN Sports has already bought were the 2018 and 2022 FIFA World Cup matches.
Saudi Minister of Culture and Information Awwad Al-Awwad had previously said that Saudis working at Qatar’s beIN would be compensated with local jobs in parallel positions.
The upcoming PBS Sport channels are now accepting job applications from new talents, particularly commentators and presenters, the PBS Sport Twitter account posted.

Turkey tries Bloomberg reporters, accused of economic sabotage

Updated 20 September 2019

Turkey tries Bloomberg reporters, accused of economic sabotage

  • They were among dozens of defendants, including some who had simply written jokes about the currency crisis on Twitter
  • Conspiracy theories are widely believed in Turkey

ISTANBUL: Two Bloomberg reporters on Friday appeared in a Turkish court accused of damaging the country’s economy by writing an article about last year’s currency crisis.

Numerous other defendants, including economists and journalists, have also been charged in the case over their critical comments on social media about the financial turmoil in August 2018.

If found guilty they could face up to five years in prison.

Bloomberg’s editor-in-chief, John Micklethwait, said: “We condemn the indictment issued against our reporters, who have reported fairly and accurately on newsworthy events. We fully stand by them and will support them throughout this ordeal.”

The case, which opened in Istanbul on Friday, was brought after a complaint from Turkey’s banking watchdog BDDK and Capital Markets Board. The criminal court will begin hearing the second session of the prosecution on Jan 17.

The Bloomberg reporters’ article angered Turkish decision-makers and financial institutions after it claimed that the country’s Central Bank would be holding an emergency meeting over a plunge in the value of the lira against the dollar — the biggest currency shock to hit Turkey since 2001 — mainly brought on by a diplomatic crisis with the US.

The independence of the Turkish Central Bank has been high on the agenda for some time in the recession-hit economy, especially after the dismissal of its governor by a presidential decree in early July with no official reason given.

Experts said the trial was a continuation of a campaign of intimidation against journalists working in independent local and foreign media in Turkey. One local journalist, Cengiz Erdinc, has been convicted of “ruining the prestige” of the state-run Ziraat bank.

Last year, the Turkish Interior Ministry said it would take legal action against 346 social media accounts it claimed had created negative perceptions about the Turkish economy.

In another attempted press crackdown in Turkey, the pro-government SETA think tank in Istanbul recently published a report profiling Turkish journalists working for foreign media organizations, including Arab News, accusing them of “carrying out a perception work” through their “univocal line of reporting.”

Dr. Sarphan Uzunoglu, assistant professor of multimedia journalism at the Lebanese American University, said Turkey’s existing foreign policy and the government’s discourse over the last two years, totally fitted what was going on in the Bloomberg trial.

“The (Turkish) Justice and Development Party’s paranoid and conspiracy-driven political discourse is directly reflected to accusations against these journalists,” he told Arab News.

“Journalists are accused of attempting an ‘economic coup.’ The tweets and stories they published, like in all trials of journalists in Turkey, are used against them. I think one of the most important factors here is that Bloomberg seems to be a handful of comparatively independent, economy focused newsrooms.”

On the day of the trial, the US dollar/Turkish lira exchange rate rose to 5.7140, from 5.6980 on Thursday. The Turkish economy has contracted for the past three quarters.