Dish TV targets illegal UAE use

The owner of India’s Dish TV satellite network has vowed to crack down on the illegal reception of its channels in the UAE. Subhash Chandra, the chairman of Dish TV’s parent company Essel Group, says he is looking to work with the UAE authorities to stop residents tuning in illegally.

Thousands of people in the Arabian Gulf receive unlicensed satellite feeds from Dish TV, costing regional broadcasters millions of dollars a year in lost revenue, analysts say. Viewers can either register for a Dish TV subscription using an address in India, or buy the equipment locally through illegal resellers.

Chandra said he intended to “clamp down” on such practices.

“I’d like to seize this equipment. I’d like to give a message to the people … that this is illegal,” he said. “We would work with the [UAE] Government and administration to put some kind of legislation by which they could be stopped. We are doing that – we are working on it already.”

Authorities in the Emirates have already launched several initiatives to stamp out illegal viewing of satellite TV stations. Last year, the Dubai Police raided dozens of buildings said to be receiving pirate TV feeds, while the UAE Ministry of Economy said in 2009 it would take strict action against those selling illegal satellite receivers.

At least 60 per cent of the UAE’s south Asian community is illegally subscribing to Dish TV, according to one estimate from 2010.

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