Saudi Arabia rejects Wimbledon beoutQ piracy claims
JEDDAH: Saudi Arabiaâs Ministry of Media announced it has become aware of inaccurate and irresponsible accusations made by the Wimbledon Championships, in its July 5 press release regarding piracy when broadcasting beoutQ.
Wimbledonâs press release alleges that beoutQ is based in Saudi Arabia and that the Kingdom is somehow complicit in the sports networkâs broadcasts.
This comes days after Al-Jazeera Media Network and its subsidiary beIN Sports, FIFA and Wimbledonâs exclusive licensee in the MENA region, accused beoutQ of illegally broadcasting World Cup games.
The ministry unequivocally rejects these allegations in the strongest possible terms.
Wimbledonâs press release alleges that beoutQ is an âillegal Saudi Arabian-based piracy operation,â but cites no sources or evidence for that allegation.
The ministry affirmed it was not aware of such evidence, yet it acknowled ged that beoutQâs receiver boxes are available in many places, including Qatar and perhaps Eastern Europe.
beoutQ touts itself as based in either Cuba or Colombia. Given the current diplomatic impasse between Qatar and numerous Arab nations, including Saudi Arabia, claims emanating from Al-Jazeera that beoutQ is based in the Kingdom are highly suspect.
âSuggesting that Saudi Arabia is in any way complicit in beoutQâs operation both offends the Saudi people and is a malicious lie.
Through its Ministry of Commerce and Investment, the Kingdom has relentlessly combatted beoutQâs activities within the country,â the ministry said in a statement.
For instance, the Ministry of Commerce has seized thousands of set-top boxes that would otherwise be used to violate intellectual property (IP) in the country.
âThe government of Saudi Arabia is and will remain devoted to protecting IP rights within the country,â noted the statement.
While Al-Jazeera has repe atedly accused Arabsat (a quasi-governmental entity of the Arab League in Riyadh, established by 22 of its member states) of facilitating beoutQâs transmissions, however, to date, Al-Jazeera has not provided any credible evidence that it has done so. To the contrary, Al-Jazeera has repeatedly pointed to the âunparalleled sophisticationâ with which beoutQ has easily overcome Al-Jazeeraâs and beIN Sportsâ state-of-the-art anti-piracy technology. Therefore, Wimbledonâs suggestion that Arabsat is facilitating or otherwise turning a blind eye to beoutQâs operations is simply more Al-Jazeera propaganda.
Wimbledon and the various tennis associations quoted in the press release should be aware that in early June 2017, the Saudi government banned all broadcasts by Al-Jazeera and its affiliates within the Kingdom because the Doha-based channel is a media platform for terrorists to propagate their violent messages and to promote instability in the region.
Finally, Wimbled onâs press release includes various statements of solidarity with Al-Jazeera subsidiaries beIN Sports or the beIN Media Group. These statements are virtually identical to statements promulgated by Al-Jazeera as part of its irresponsible smear media campaign against the Kingdom.
âWe are disappointed that representatives of credible tennis associations are being used in the Wimbledon press release as mouthpieces by Al-Jazeera,â the statement noted.
Al-Jazeeraâs response to the ban has been to escalate a political campaign against Saudi Arabia. It has used beIN Sportsâ 2018 FIFA World Cup broadcasts to defame the Kingdom, the Saudi Arabian football federation, and national team.
Given Al-Jazeeraâs known role in supporting terrorism and its inability to provide any media content in Saudi Arabian territory, the ministry urges Wimbledon and the tennis associations to end their relationships with beIN Sports and other Al-Jazeera entities.