Crackdown on illegal satellite TV dishes

Amira Agarib / 21 June 2012

Expatriates enjoying their regular TV fare from back home through illegally imported satellite channel receivers, beware! The Dubai Police are intensifying its campaign against satellite TV piracy and infringements on intellectual property rights.

The General Department of Criminal Investigation has started responding to formal complaints lodged by satellite TV network owners who pointed to the heavy losses they incur because of the spread of illegal satellite TV dish antennae and receivers.

Brigadier Khalil Ibrahim Al Mansouri, Director of the General Department of Criminal Investigation, said the Anti-Economic Crime Unit is making all efforts to eliminate satellite TV piracy through the campaign in coordination with parties representing the telecasting networks in the UAE and the owners of intellectual property rights.

He noted that in the event of receiving a complaint from these organisations about a building committing such violations, the police would ask the building management or the real estate office managing the building to remove the dish antennae.

“The police will contact the real estate office which manages the building to remove the central dish antenna in a period not exceeding 15 days. If they do not respond, we will call the person in charge and action will be taken as per Article 38 of the Federal Penal Code No. 7 of the year 2002 pertaining to the protection of intellectual property. The law violators will be referred to the prosecution,” Brig Al Mansouri said.

Police not entering flats

He, however, denied reports in some newspapers that the police have launched raids in Bur Dubai areas and seized the passports of some residents.

He said the Dubai Police are keen to protect the residents and cannot violate the Criminal Procedure Code while raiding any apartment. Even if there is permission from the Public Prosecution, the police do not enter the flat. They will knock the door and ask the owner to hand over the devices like the receiver and the subscriber viewing card, he said.

South Asian viewers can watch channels beamed by Dish TV, Tata Sky and Sun Direct networks in the UAE through illegal set-top boxes brought in from India at a cheap cost. About 200 television channels can be viewed on these channels, which affect the business of UAE-based providers such as eVision, ePehla, Arab Digital Distribution (ADD) and Orbit Showtime Network (OSN).