Expert tests prove Arabsat not involved in illegal broadcasts of World Cup

The Saudi Arabian-based broadcaster has consistently denied accusations it allowed illegal broadcasts of the World Cup via pirate channel “BeoutQ”. (File/AFP)
Updated 16 July 2018

Expert tests prove Arabsat not involved in illegal broadcasts of World Cup

  • Multiple tests by experts confirm Arabsat frequencies were not used for illegal World Cup broadcasts
  • Arabsat’s CEO demands immediate retraction and apology from FIFA after research vindicates broadcaster

RIYADH: The Arab Satellite Communications Organization (Arabsat) this week told FIFA that an investigation performed by seven independent satellite communications experts has confirmed its satellite frequencies were not, and have not been used by an entity operating as “beoutQ” for illegal broadcasts of 2018 FIFA World Cup matches. 
The detailed letter to FIFA sent on Arabsat’s behalf summarized the evidence, which conclusively showed the falsity of FIFA’s claim that Arabsat had been “distributing” beoutQ’s pirate broadcasts.  “Arabsat has always been confident that our satellite network has not been used by beoutQ,” said Khalid Balkheyour, Arabsat’s CEO.  “Nevertheless, we undertook a very costly investigation to eliminate any doubts and to provide evidence to share with FIFA and the world.” 
Arabsat’s letter to FIFA detailed specific tests showing why FIFA’s claims that beoutQ was operating on specific Arabsat frequencies at specific times were wholly wrong.  The statement explained that, FIFA had claimed beoutQ was operating on Arabsat frequency 12341 MHz for several World Cup matches.  But tests conducted by several independent satellite communications experts showed that that frequency carried no video content at all at the very dates and times asserted by FIFA.   
Likewise, FIFA asserted that beoutQ broadcast different matches on Arabsat frequency 11996 MHz.  Again, Arabsat’s technical experts demonstrated that FIFA was wrong.  Arabsat’s experts showed that blocking the frequency had no effect on beoutQ’s pirate World Cup broadcasts, and that only legitimate broadcasts (including BBC, Sky News and CNBC) were available on that frequency – not beoutQ. 
Arabsat’s tests also showed that other satellite carriers might be carrying beoutQ’s pirate broadcasts.  “We received one set of test results in which our expert blocked all Arabsat frequencies,” Balkheyour said, “but beoutQ’s World Cup broadcasts continued.”  This strongly suggests that beoutQ used a different, non-Arabsat satellite to broadcast the offending content. 
“Arabsat is entirely vindicated in its decision to undertake its comprehensive investigation before taking the drastic step of shutting down satellite transponders – as FIFA had demanded,” added Balkheyour.   
The statement added that the experts’ findings had deepened Arabsat’s conviction that beIN Sports, a subsidiary of Al Jazeera, was behind allegations that Arabsat satellites had been used by beoutQ.  Arabsat believes that beIN Sports contrived the allegations as part of a smear campaign to deflect attention away from its technological inability to prevent beoutQ’s piracy.
Arabsat has demanded that FIFA immediately issue a public retraction of and apology for its claims that Arabsat was somehow complicit or did not do enough to stop beoutQ.  “Arabsat has been deeply offended and harmed by beIN’s and FIFA’s attacks,” Balkheyour said.  “Now that FIFA has been proven wrong, it should apologize for making such offensive statements.”

Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry inaugurates Arab News Pakistan bureau

Updated 16 February 2019

Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry inaugurates Arab News Pakistan bureau

  • New office will be hub for Asian operation of paper and builds on relationship with community and its digital generation
  • Arab News launched its online Pakistan edition in February last year as part of its global digital expansion plans

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan Minister of Information and Broadcasting Fawad Chaudhry has officially inaugurated Arab News Pakistan bureau in the country’s capital.

Chaudhry was the chief guest at the occasion and several prominent Pakistani media personalities and Arab News staff also attended the launch ceremony.

Standing side by side with Arab News Editor-in-Chief Faisal J. Abbas, who is in Pakistan as part of the media delegation accompanying the royal visit by Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, and Arab News Asia Bureau Chief Baker Atyani, Chaudhry cut a ceremonial ribbon to open the office.

“I am very happy for two reasons: The perception was building that the newspapers were not coming (to Pakistan), so once an international publication like Arab News (has come here) it certainly gives us a huge boost.”

Chaudhry described how the relationship between the nations was becoming stronger, particularly with the growth of Pakistan’s voice in the Middle East.

‘Secondly, I think this is an era where Pakistan is playing a very important role in the Middle East and to have such a major Middle Eastern publication coming to Pakistan itself shows the kind of importance Pakistan has of the Middle East and vice versa, we are very happy to have you here.’

Editor-in-Chief Faisal J. Abbas thanked the Pakistani information minister for his presence at the inauguration and for the efforts of the Information and Broadcasting Ministry to help facilitate the newspaper’s operations in Islamabad. 

“The inauguration of our Islamabad bureau a year after the launch of our local digital edition is an indicator of our commitment to Pakistan and our determination to help create a better understanding of Saudi Arabia and the region,” said Abbas. 

“Ever since its establishment in 1975, Arab News has had a special relationship with the massive and incredibly loyal Pakistani community in Saudi Arabia. Today we inaugurate this bureau in Islamabad to ensure a continued connection with the community and establish a relationship with a new more digital and highly connected generation,” he added. 

Asia Bureau Chief Baker Atyani said that the new office would be a hub not only for the Arab News Pakistan edition but also for the entire Asian operation of the paper. “We currently have reporters across Pakistan as well as nine other Asian countries and with the help, hard work and dedication of our team at the Islamabad bureau we hope not only to better manage our operation but to grow further in Asia as well.” 

Arab News launched its online Pakistan edition in February last year as part of its global digital expansion plans. The project is the first of many new international editions planned by the Riyadh-based newspaper. 

Arab News is part of the regional publishing giant Saudi Research and Marketing Group (SRMG).