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Info Saudi Arabia DTH ban confusion - 13-April-2009, 18:30

Saudi Arabia DTH ban confusion

Chris Forrester


Not for the first time the Saudi Arabian authorities have banned the import of illegal DTH receivers and decoders. The ban covers such set-top boxes that can be used to access encrypted services illegally.

The ruling, reportedly, permits the use of legitimate decoder boxes from the regions pay-TV operators. We are working hard to establish [Saudi Arabia] as a leader in piracy reduction among [Gulf] countries and are currently aiming to become one of the stricter implementers of anti-piracy measures in the region, said Ministry of Culture & Information Undersecretary Abdul Rahman Al Hazzaa.

The Kingdom is taking a strong stance against piracy because it compromises religious values, weakens the economy, tarnishes the countrys image, and hurts consumers, added Al Hazaa.

The Dubai-based Arabian Anti-piracy Alliance confirmed the action. The move marks a major milestone in the [Saudi Arabias] intellectual property rights protection efforts, said the Anti-piracy Alliance, which works along with the US-based MPA to curb piracy of content.

Illegal TV decoder boxes have become popular in Gulf markets, the Anti-piracy Alliance said, and despite efforts to suppress the market, access to these devices remains easy. This is leading to a collaborative effort between governments and the private sector to stamp out piracy in the region, the anti-piracy group said.

Two pay TV broadcasters, Orbit Satellite Television and Showtime reportedly backed the governments plan and said piracy damages investors interests and ultimately hurts consumers.
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