The Doha-based beIN Media Group has claimed that cyberattacks against founder Nasser Al-Khelaifi, who is also the chairman of Paris Saint-Germain are a “daily reality”.
It added that they have been aware of the attacks against the sports network and its employees by a few entities for several years now.
The statement arrives after a report from French publication Le Monde alleged that Al-Khelaifi was targeted for potential surveillance by Pegasus spyware.
What does beIN’s statement say?
“We have known about the cyber-attacks against beIN Sports and its employees by certain entities for years. During this time, beIN has joined with legal advocates and many international organisations to fight against piracy and uphold the rule of law. However, the sophisticated attacks against our group’s interests and reputation have also been marked by smear campaigns, commercial sabotage, spurious lawsuits and cyber-attacks against our chairman,” a spokesperson of beIN Media said.
The statement added that such acts are disgraceful and beyond laws, it’s not political and is often completely commercial spying on the group. It also asked the concerned authorities to ensure that this situation of lawlessness is held into account.
Recent reports across publications allege Pegasus intervention
On Wednesday, a report from Le Monde alleged that “at the end of 2018, foreign agents used the powerful Pegasus software to target two cell numbers” of Nasser al-Khelaifi but also “a landline phone number assigned to the Parisian club’s communications director, Jean-Martial Ribes”.
The report alleged that Al-Khelaifi was targeted by the Pegasus spyware.
On Sunday, an investigative media consortium — led by Paris-based non-profit journalism group Forbidden Stories — alleged that Pegasus, a spyware tool licensed to governments by the Israeli company NSO Group was misused.
The report added that the Pegasus software was used to hack journalists, government officials and high-profile individuals’ smartphones globally, and that too successfully.
The NSO too didn’t stay away from putting in a reply. It said that the report was filled with false assumptions and unconfirmed theories. Its response to Forbidden Stories said that its report lacked facts as several claims did not have any supporting documentation.
It added that it would keep up the investigation of all the valid claims of misuse of Pegasus and take proper action.
Broadcasting rights issue between Qatar and Saudi Arabia
In 2020, the World Trade Organisation declared that Saudi Arabia extended its support to beoutQ, a pirate pay-television broadcaster, that once stole beIN’s feed when there were disputes between Qatar and Saudi Arabia four years back.
The latter then declared that it would repress such IP infringement, promising to crack down on those selling pirate broadcasting boxes.
UEFA had also asked the US government a few months back asking it to keep Saudi Arabia on its IP rights black list.
Earlier this year, the two countries reconciled and a long-standing ban on beIN in Saudi Arabia was lifted, as many cafes and restaurants in Riyadh used satellite dishes to air Premier League matches on beIN sports channels.