Egypt TV to sue al-Jazeera Sport over World Cup broadcast

The head of the Egypt Radio and TV Union (ERTU), Osama el-Sheikh, decided to file a lawsuit against al-Jazeera sport; the owners of the broadcasting rights to the FIFA World Cup competitions, which kicked off last Friday in South Africa.

ERTU is accusing the Qatari channel of breaching three articles of the agreement it signed with the union by cutting the air time of the opening match between South Africa and Mexico. The union is also dismayed with the accusations by al-Jazeera Sport, which claims that Nile Sat, the Egyptian satellite company, had intentionally jammed its transmission.

The International Communication Association’s office in Geneva decided to investigate the incident thoroughly, with the results to be declared within the few next hours, while Nile Sat officials are to seek the assistance of two companies in order to identify the overlapping airing spots on the satellite. A number of communication experts believe that the channel made up the incident just to trigger a crisis with the Egyptian government.

El-Sheikh said that the agreement was to air the matches on both satellite and terrestrial TV channels, however, they were only aired on terrestrial channels with a very weak signal. “This is an act commercial cheating,” el-Sheikh argued, “al-Jazeera had sold the customers subscription cards to watch the matches, and then opened the channels for free. Thus, those who did not pay are now able to follow the championship.”

Eng. Salah Hamza, head of the engineering sector in Nile Sat, said that the satellite had provided the Qatari channel with two additional frequencies in case of transmission interruptions, also also revealed that Nile Sat had contracted two outstanding firms to help trace any jamming. He added that the body responsible for the interruption of the signal is probably a terrestrial station. Hamza declared that the satellite is currently cooperating with the channel to figure out the identity of the jamming source.

Abdel Rahman el-Sawi, professor of communication at Helwan University, said that the standards adopted by the international association prevent such airing breaches, noting also that Egypt does not possess the means to change or repair frequencies, and that such controls are in the hands of the French manufacturer. The professor accused al-Jazeera of creating the fuss. Evidence of this was seen when they immediately solved the problem.

Translated from the Arabic Edition.

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