Al Jazeera Sport this week threatened to take legal action against Algerian public broadcaster ENTV for having retransmitted coverage of a World Cup qualifier football match between Algeria and Burkina Faso to which it did not hold the rights.
Al Jazeera secured the support of the African Football Confederation (CAF), which lodged a protest over Algeria’s “audiovisual piracy”. The CAF said it reserved the right to pursue those responsible in the courts.
Algerian TV director-general Tewfik Khelladi responded by claiming that the broadcaster’s decision was legitimate.
According to local press agency APS, he said that Al Jazeera had refused to meet its obligation to make the match – which he said was an event of cultural significance appealing to a large audience – available at a commercially fair price for terrestrial distribution.
The Algerian press has focused on the refusal of the Algerian government to allow the Qatari broadcaster to open an office in Algiers as a possible factor in Al Jazeera’s decision not to make the broadcast available.
Burkina Faso won the contested match, which took place in the country’s capital Ouagadougou, 3-2. A return match is scheduled in Algiers on November 19.