In a crackdown on illegal satellite broadcasting services, authorities have removed illegal dish TVs antennas, pitched on residential building rooftops, and warned residents against subscribing to illegal TV.
Several buildings in Dubai’s Muhaisnah area had illegal satellite dishes removes, with notices put out informing residents that they were violating the UAE law, and would need to subscribe to OSN instead.
Over the years, Department of Economic Development (DED) has inspected many areas in Dubai, and taken down illegal TV satellite dish antennas.
“When we got back home, we were surprised to find our TV was not working. When we asked our watchman, he told us that officials had inspected our building, and the satellite dishes were taken away,” said a building resident, who did not wish to be named.
“I don’t know if they have penalised the landlord or any individual families in the building, but the watchman has put up the 'legal notice' that he was provided by the officials.”
Illegal Indian/Pakistani TV satellite channels are popular among the expat community as they are cheaper.
However, many residents are unaware that putting up these antennas can attract penalties of up to Dh50,000.
The legal notice, issued in the public interest by Government of Dubai, Department of Economic Development, read, “The advertisement, sale and/or distribution of television service by unlicensed, unauthorised and unlawful television service providers in the UAE is illegal.
“Dish TV/Tata Sky/Sun Direct/Airtel Digital TV are not authorized in the UAE, and the sale/use of their dishes, receivers and/or smart cards (or those of any other unauthorized operator) violates intellectual property rights and related laws of the UAE.
“Any person and/or business selling, using and/or promising the aforementioned illegitimate TV services will be contributing and fostering criminal activities, such as organised crime and is liable to fines and/or jail terms.”
OSN has partnered with the UAE authorities to fight against television piracy.
The notice reads, “Television services shall only be obtained through legitimate services. OSN has been granted exclusive rights for televisions series, channels, movies and sporting events for the Mena region.”
While officials have conducted numerous crackdowns in the past, many continue to openly advertise for them through classifieds online. A quick check showed numerous advertisements for 'all kinds of dish and CCTV installation'.
A comment from DED was awaited at the time of writing this article.