Saudi, Bahrain block new subscriptions to BeIN | Broadcast | News | Rapid TV News
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Saudi Arabia and Bahrain have banned residents from renewing or taking out new subscriptions to Qatar-based pay-TV network beIN Media, as the diplomatic row continues in the Gulf.

beIN sport logo 15 June. pngBeIN Sport, which holds the Middle East broadcast rights for major football competitions such as the English Premier League, Spain’s La Liga and the World Cup, is still available to existing subscribers on TV for now. However, imports of the pay-TV network’s receivers have been blocked in both the countries following the severing of diplomatic, economic and trade ties with Qatar on 5 June.

The UAE has already suspended the reception of beIN content on its du and Etisalat IPTV platforms after it too cut links with Qatar over alleged support of Islamic extremists.

Qatar, which has become increasingly isolated in the Gulf region, refutes the allegations.

The General Commission for Audiovisual Media in Riyadh claims BeIN sports channels had not obtained the required licence to sell or renew subscriptions.

Both Bahrain and Saudi Arabia have already banned the reception of beIN affiliate Al Jazeera, with the latter country closing the global news network’s Riyadh bureau last week.

Al Jazeera has called the measures “unjustified” and said it will “continue to cover the news and current affairs from the region and beyond (in a) balanced objective manner”.

Some analysts have suggested that a successful outcome in negotiations between the sparring countries may involve the closure Al Jazeera, which has often been criticised by Qatar’s neighbouring regimes.

“Qatar's Emir first gesture of good will likely be the shutting of Al Jazeera TV network entirely, which could happen in months if not weeks,” Sultan Al Qassemi, a prominent regional commentator, said in a tweet.

However, Qatar’s Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani said there will be no discussion about the fate of the Doha-based broadcaster with those nations that have imposed a blockade on Qatar.

“Doha rejects discussing any matter related to Al Jazeera channel as it considers it an internal affair,” Qatar News Agency (QNA) quoted the minister as saying.