Bid to turn a humiliating defeat into victory- media in siege countries squirm to achieve the impossible
June 18 2020 12:07 AM
WTO
In a resounding victory for Qatar, a World Trade Organisation (WTO) panel ordered Saudi Arabia to adhere to global intellectual property rules

Outright lies, misrepresentation of facts and obfuscation - that is how media in the siege countries published reports about a verdict issued by the World Trade Organisation on Tuesday against the Saudi piracy of Qatar-based beIN's copyright content.
In a resounding victory for Qatar, a World Trade Organisation (WTO) panel ordered Saudi Arabia to adhere to global intellectual property rules after it was found that Riyadh actively promoted and supported the beoutQ pirate TV operation and has breached its obligations under international law to protect intellectual property rights.
The landmark judgment was issued in a complaint filed by Doha in 2018, saying Saudi Arabia was blocking Qatari-owned broadcaster beIN and refusing to take effective action against alleged piracy of beIN's content by "beoutQ", a sophisticated pirating operation.
The three-person WTO panel, in its ruling said that Saudi government officials and entities publicly promoted beoutQ, including with "governmental tweets".
It said Saudi Arabia's failure to act against beoutQ was a breach of WTO rules. "...the Panel recommends that Saudi Arabia bring its measures into conformity with its obligations under the TRIPS Agreement," it concluded, in reference to a global pact on intellectual property.
For independent observers, it was interesting to see how media in the siege countries, particularly Saudi Arabia, carried the 'humiliating' news. Though this was the first time in the 73-year history of the WTO and its predecessor (the GATT) that a panel has rejected a respondent's attempt to invoke the national security exception as a defence, Saudi newspapers reported just the opposite.
The Jeddah-based English newspaper Arab News published the news under the headline 'WTO panel rules Saudi Arabia’s national security defense justified in Qatar broadcasting dispute', whereas in fact the panel found that Riyadh's failure to take criminal action against beoutQ was so disconnected from any legitimate security interest that it could not meet even "a minimum requirement of plausibility in relation to the proffered essential security interests".
The Arab News report went on harping on unfounded allegations of Qatar supporting extremism, without mentioning a word about the WTO verdict asking it to respect international rules and end violations of intellectual property rights.
Saudi Gazette, another English daily, also followed the Arab News line and carried the story under the caption- 'Saudi Arabia’s national security defense is justified, WTO panel rules' but went one step ahead claiming the ruling was a 'major embarrassment for Qatar' and the 'WTO dispute panel ruled in favour of Saudi Arabia', saying that the country's 'national security defense is justified'.
Not to be left behind their siege partner, Dubai-based Gulf News said the "World Trade Organisation dropped Qatar’s five charges against Saudi Arabia". It went on quoting Saudi's permanent representative at WTO in Geneva, who tried to connect the dispute to 'GCC’s security interests'.
The Gulf News, in the most unscrupulous and unprofessional manner, went on to quote the Saudi official, who claimed the "WTO panel realised our rights and refused Qatar’s claims that Saudi Arabia supports piracy of broadcasts". He went on to say that the panel "rebuffed Qatar’s accusation that the Kingdom pirated its beIN broadcasts".
Many Saudi and UAE Arabic dailies also twisted the ruling of the World Trade Organisation panel order and in their news and editorial columns, "welcomed the ruling" that they claimed "has affirmed the legality of the procedures taken by Saudi Arabia against Qatar".
Al Sharq Al Awsat (The Middle East) said "such procedures by Saudi Arabia were taken to protect its basic security interests".
The same view was reiterated by Saudi daily Al Watan that claimed the WTO said in its ruling that the "Kingdom of Saudi Arabia's stance against Qatar is justifiable to protect its security interests according to the exemption article at the organisation’s agreement". The paper claimed that the WTO team found that the comprehensive procedures taken by KSA against Qatar were "taken at emergency circumstances at the international relations based on detailed evidences submitted by the KSA against Qatar's various breaches and violation of regional agreements and obligations".
The paper added that the WTO panel has not established that any of the piracy claims of Qatar against Saudi Arabia had happened inside the Saudi territory and rejected the claims that KSA supported piracy.
Saudi newspaper Ukaz also reiterated the same claims adding that "Saudi Arabia cut its diplomatic and consular relations with Qatar due to Qatar’s breaking of its obligations to abide by the Riyadh agreement regarding the region’s stability and security concerns".
Al Riyadh, another Saudi newspaper in its editorial, strongly hailed the WTO ruling that "refuted the false claims of what it called the Doha Regime (levelled) against KSA and exposed its lies ". The editorial claimed that Qatar has lost its unjust case at the WTO regarding its intellectual property rights. The paper further claimed that "Qatar has been the major loser throughout the ongoing GCC crisis as Saudi Arabia is a state that promotes justice, law and peace, besides being keen to maintain the interests of the people of the world".
Saudi daily Al Jazirah claimed the WTO panel has concluded that "KSA has been seeking to protect its citizens, organisations, and territories against the terrorism and extremism incited by Qatar in the region". The paper hailed what it described as "WTO's appreciation for KSA's decision to sever its relations with Qatar to safeguard the interests of its people."
In the meantime, a number of UAE Arabic dailies also adopted identical stands on the issue at their Wednesday editions. For instance Al Emarat Al Youm (Emirates Today) newspaper reiterated all the previous claims adding that KSA presented important clarifications and documents related to the protection of its basic security interests against the dangers of Qatar policies and the panel considered these sufficient and accurate, making the panel reject Qatar’s view of the same issue".
Another UAE Arabic daily Al Khaleej carried almost the same statements on its yesterday's edition stressing the claims that "Qatar has lost its case against KSA at WTO".
Looking at the similarity in the content and tone of the news carried by the Saudi media it is evident that these publications were toeing the official line which most likely was conveyed to them in the form of a press statement.
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PULLQUOTES

In a resounding victory for Qatar, a World Trade Organisation (WTO) panel ordered Saudi Arabia to adhere to global intellectual property rules after it was found that Riyadh actively promoted and supported the beoutQ pirate TV operation and has breached its obligations under international law to protect intellectual property rights.

Though this was the first time in the 73-year history of the WTO and its predecessor (the GATT) that a panel has rejected a respondent's attempt to invoke the national security exception as a defence, Saudi newspapers reported just the opposite.

Looking at the similarity in the content and tone of the news carried by the Saudi media it is evident that these publications were toeing the official line which most likely was conveyed to them in the form of a press statement.



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