Police hit Mid-East TV pirates
By Chris Forrester

The police in Dubai have raided “dozens” of buildings in the UAE targeting alleged signal distribution pirates in the region. Dubai Police’s economic crime department co-ordinated the raids having been given details of the alleged pirates by Arab Digital Distribution (ADD), a pay-TV broadcaster which specialises in supplying content for Asian viewers.

“Piracy is not only an act of bad citizenship but an illegal act that can seriously compromise your status, your residence and your lifestyle in UAE,” said General Khalil Ibrahim al Mansouri, the director general of inquiries and criminal investigations. “We are determined to continue our campaign against illegal vendors and subscribers.”

More than 50 sites were raided by the police, most of which were informal hook-ups serving apartment blocks or buildings housing residents from India and Pakistan. Piracy, in the form of illegal distribution as well as card sharing, has plagued Middle East pay-TV broadcasting.

ADD said it was “practically impossible” to compete with overspill satellite TV from India, such as Dish TV, which offers rival packages at a fraction of the cost. Majed Sahelli, ADD’s MD, told local press that confiscating receivers at airports and punishing lawbreakers sent out a strong message, but it was a long-term battle.