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Asian Tribune is published by World Institute For Asian Studies|Powered by WIAS Vol. 12 No. 2731

Asset Media failed to address the national security concern arising from Direct to Home service

Colombo, 10 April, ( In a clarification to the “Asian Tribune,” Asset Media Pvt Ltd says that their subscribers are protected from unlawful Direct To Home transmissions of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam. This clarification was sent in response to Asian Tribune’s news report of appeared on 08 April. The news report said that “Satellite based direct to home” television services a threat to national security. “ Asset Media Pvt Ltd is a subsidiary of Dialog Telekom Ltd, Colombo, Sri Lanka. However Asset Media statement failed to addressed the genuine concerns of the national security issues raised by “Asian Tribune.”

Asset Media says that they have encrypted their channels through Conditional Access System (CAS). But this company has not said what encryption system they have adopted. Our experts are of the view that they may be adopting IRDETO encryptions system.

According to their statement, they have locked their receivers to prevent their subscribers entering the Free to Air Channel – National Television of Tamil Eelam and Pulikalin Kural (Voice of Tigers) radio found in the bandwidth of the Intelsat 12 satellite.

They added that Asset Media’s subscribers need the password for their receivers, which they have not given to them, to receive the Free to Air transmissions - National Television of Tamil Eelam and the Voice of Tiges radio broadcast in the Intelsat satellite 12.

“Asian Tribune experts pointed out that to find out the password is not a big issue. Any inteligent person with the basic computer knowledge would be in a position to crack the encryptions.

Furthermore “Asian Tribune” learns that already the LTTE has broken the encryption of Asset Media receivers and has provided the passwords to many of their supporters to view the encrypted channels.

If the encrypted lock is secure how is it that the LTTE supporters can a access the Free To Air channels through the receivers of Asset Media?

Furthermore, it must be noted that Asset Media have not contradicted, that they pay a monthly rental of US$120,000/= for the two transponders with 29 channels placed in the bandwidth of the Intelsat 12 satellite.

However the statement by Asset Media has failed to address the security concerns raised by the “Asian Tribune” news item, where it was pointed out: “In the beginning, when Asset Media owned DTH service took off, -

1. It has not insisted with the Intelsat Ltd., to remove the National Television of Tamil Eelam from its satellite.

2. Even after it became operational, when Voice of Tigers Radio began their broadcast through the Intelsat 12 satellite on 05 March 2007, Asset Media never thought it fit to assert the Intelsat Ltd to remove the Voice of Tigers from the satellite.

3. Further, even after “Asian Tribune” brought this matter to the notice of the Intelsat Ltd.; Asset Media simply ignored the seriousness of the issue for reasons best known to them.

Asset Media has failed to respond to these serious questions raised by the “Asian Tribune,” and tries to cast aspersions on the "Asian Tribune’s" genuine concern of the country’s security.

In case Asset Media need to have a precedent as to how a DTH operator demanded the removal of a Free to Air channel from a communication satellite service provider and had their way, then “Asian Tribune” is ready to bring to the attention of Asset Media that particular precedent.

In 2004 when ISRO (Indian Space Research Organization) decided to enter into an agreement with Netherlands' New Skies Satellites (NSS) for multiple high-powered 36 MHz Ku-band transponders on the NSS-6 satellite on behalf of Doordharshan of India. They insisted with the satellite provider to remove the Free to Air channel - XXX Adults TV – a Free to Air sex TV channel already existed in its bandwidth.

Only after the satellite provider complied with their demand, it is said that Doordharshan DTH service came forward to use the bandwidth of NSS and commenced operation in June 2004, with an initial bouquet of 30 free channels, 15 from Doordarshan and 15 from private broadcasters, as well as 20 radio channels throughout India.

“Asian Tribune” is of the opinion that Asset Media too might have considered to follow what Doordharshan did and demanded Intelsat Ltd to remove the two channels of the LTTE - National Television of Tamil Eelam and the Voice of Tigers radio.

“Asian Tribune” in its news item said very clearly that Direct to Home service simply ignored the seriousness of the issue for reasons best known to them.”

“Asian Tribune” is of the opinion that Asset Media, a subsidiary of Diialog Telekom may have thought that either antagonizing the LTTE or irritating them might force LTTE to take action against them with their thriving Dialog Mobile phone business in the North and East of the island.

Therefore Asian Tribune maintains that matters raised in the news report “Satellite based direct to home” television services, a threat to national security, “ as one hundred percent factually correct and continues with its position that the Direct to Home Television service is a threat to the national security of the country.

We also wishes to remind that, even in this late hour, Asset Media could demand the Intelsat Ltd to remove the LTTE’s Free to Air Channels from their satellite.

In case Intelsat Ltd failed to remove the two Free to Air LTTE channel and if the Washington based American Communication Company insists that they wanted to continue with those two LTTE channels in their bandwidth, which according to “Asian Tribune’s” contention, amounts to globally promoting terrorism, then they are free to do so.

Ambassador Bernard Goonatilake, and Brigadier Athula Jjayawardene, Military attaché of the Sri Lanka Embassy in Washington are expected to meet today with Philip Spector, the executive Vice President and General Counsel to the CEO of the Intelsat Ltd., in Washington.

In case Intelsat Ltd refuses to consider favorably the national security concerns of Sri Lanka, the Washington based Sri Lanka Embassy may be left with other choices that might deem fit for them to continue in their national endeavor.

In the meantime if Asset Media does not wants to compromise with the security of Sri Lanka, then they may consider removing their channels from Intelsat 12 and go in for another satellite where there are no questionable LTTE’s Free to Air channels available.

Given below the statement released by Asset Media, Colombo on 09 April, to "Asian Tribune":

Asset Media Subscribers Protected from Unlawful DTH Transmissions

Asset Media, Colombo << 9th April 2007 >>

Asset Media Pvt Ltd., a subsidiary of Dialog Telekom Ltd., released Monday 9th April, a clarification to an article appearing in the 8th of April 2007 titled “satellite based direct to home” television services a threat to national security

Asset Media is deeply concerned that the referenced article, which claims in complete contradiction to fact, that Asset Media (Dialog TV) subscribers were exposed to transmissions impinging on national security, would cause concern and distress to its valued customers. The company hastens to correct the grossly inaccurate references to its services within the referenced article, in the interests of its customers, the general public and national security.

The article inaccurately states that Sri Lankan homes subscribing to the DTH service of Asset Media had viewing access to Free to Air (F toA) channels in addition to those channels up-linked by Asset Media to the Intel SAT IS 12 (formerly PAS12) satellite.

Asset Media has invested in a Conditional Access System (CAS) which is installed at its central broadcasting station as well as in the form of secure software, within every Set Top Box retailed by the company. The CAS limits viewing access of Asset Media’s (Dialog TV) Subscribers, strictly to those channels up-linked by the company. The CAS in particular prevents subscribers from viewing F2A channels broadcast by other DTH broadcasters using regional satellite(s), thereby protecting Sri Lankan homes subscribing to its services from any unlawful transmissions broadcast from regional satellites.

The company incurs additional royalty charges and infrastructure costs for the CAS. While individual DTH operators in specific countries/ territories have no jurisdiction or control over the activities of global and/or regional satellite providers such as Intelsat (who provide satellite space to a large number of such DTH operators and channel broadcasters), the CAS enables those operators who deploy it (such as Asset Media) to ensure that transmissions received by subscribing homes are limited to those broadcast by the company. The company is also the only DTH operator in Sri Lanka which up-links its content (channels) out of Sri Lanka, thereby ensuring that all content (channels) broadcast, and received by its subscribers, are fully within its control and are open to scrutiny and jurisdiction by local authorities.

Furthermore Asset Media categorically states that the Set Top Boxes retailed by the company for the purposes of viewing its DTH services cannot be used to view the channels impugned in the referenced article."

- Asian Tribune –

Also Read:

1. Satellite based ‘Direct to Home’ television services a threat to National security

2. LTTE broadcasting illegally in Intelsat 12 satellite: Will be closed down soon – Intelsat Ltd.

3. Tigers open up new satellite radio station from Vanni

4. Sri Lankan government finances Tigers by buying their Tamil TV programs

5. French guillotine ready to chop the head of Paris-based Tamil Television Network.

6. Tigers grab Tamil TV and radio stations in France

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