Harb: Efforts Underway to Allow Lebanese People Access to World Cup Gamesإقرأ هذا الخبر بالعربية
Telecommunications Minister Butros Harb stated on Saturday that it is “unacceptable” that watching the 2014 FIFA World Cup be limited to people who can afford it.
He said via Twitter: “Contacts are underway with SAMA, the sole agent responsible for broadcasting the tournament, in order to reach a solution to the Lebanese people.”
“We hope to make a pleasant announcement in the upcoming hours,” he added.
“It is unacceptable that the tournament be inaccessible to people of limited means, which is a sign of class discrimination that is no longer tolerable,” said Harb.
“Such incidents violate the simplest rules of justice and equality between the people,” he stressed.
Meanwhile, Director of the sole agent company SAMA, Hassan al-Zein, told Voice of Lebanon radio (93.3): “We are open to any solution on condition that the company does not incur any more losses.”
He revealed that the company has run out of receiver cards that grant access to the tournament games, saying that it takes 12 to 15 days for new cards to arrive to Lebanon from Europe.
SAMA is the sole agent of beIN Sports in Lebanon.
beIN Sports is a global network of sports channels jointly owned and operated by Qatari Sports Investments, an affiliate of Al-Jazeera Media Networks. It has purchased the rights to broadcast the World Cup in the Middle East.
Many people have not been able to afford the fee imposed by SAMA to purchase receiver cards that allow them access to the World Cup matches, leaving several households unable to watch the games.
Television cable providers in Lebanon criticized on Friday the state for failing to address the issue of broadcasting the 2014 FIFA World Cup.
General coordinator of the network of cable providers in Lebanon Mahmoud Khaled said during a press conference: “The state shied away from its responsibilities regarding this issue.”
In the absence of laws regulating the telecommunications sector, most Lebanese get their subscriptions from mostly illegal cable companies that operate through piracy and charge about LBP 20,000 ($13) a month.