Saudi Arabia DTH ‘ban’ confusion Chris Forrester 13-04-2009 Not for the first time the Saudi Arabian authorities have banned the import of “illegal” DTH receivers and decoders. The ban covers such set-top boxes that can be used to access encrypted services illegally. The ruling, reportedly, permits the use of ‘legitimate’ decoder boxes from the region’s pay-TV operators. “We are working hard to establish [Saudi Arabia] as a leader in piracy reduction among [Gulf] countries and are currently aiming to become one of the stricter implementers of anti-piracy measures in the region,” said Ministry of Culture & Information Undersecretary Abdul Rahman Al Hazzaa. “The Kingdom is taking a strong stance against piracy because it compromises religious values, weakens the economy, tarnishes the country’s image, and hurts consumers,” added Al Hazaa. The Dubai-based Arabian Anti-piracy Alliance confirmed the action. “The move marks a major milestone in the [Saudi Arabia’s] intellectual property rights protection efforts,” said the Anti-piracy Alliance, which works along with the US-based MPA to curb piracy of content. Illegal TV decoder boxes have become popular in Gulf markets, the Anti-piracy Alliance said, and despite efforts to suppress the market, access to these devices remains easy. This is leading to a collaborative effort between governments and the private sector to stamp out piracy in the region, the anti-piracy group said. Two pay TV broadcasters, Orbit Satellite Television and Showtime reportedly backed the government’s plan and said piracy damages investors’ interests and ultimately hurts consumers.