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Sri Lanka tackles cable and satellite TV pirates

Around 300,000 Sri Lankans use illegal direct-to-home (DTH) devices to view Indian and other foreign TV channels, according to a survey by the country’s Ministry of Mass Media and Information.

A large black market supports more than 500 pirate operators in the satellite and cable TV sector, Ministry Secretary Dr Charitha Herath told the Sri Lanka’s Business Times.

Notices from the Ministry have also appeared in newspapers warning unauthorised satellite and/or cable TV stations, vendors, distributors, and users of illegal DTH devices such as dish antennas and set-top boxes.

“At many places, illegal cable operators offer connections at cheaper rates as they do not pay a licence fee,” Herath told the newspaper.

Only two cable TV stations and about four satellite TV stations have the legal right to operate in Sri Lanka.

“If we find that any of these stations have breached their agreements and maintained subcontracts with some other companies, their permits will be cancelled,” he added.