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DISH Network and DIRECTV File Suit Against Ohio For Passing Discriminatory Satellite-Only Sales Tax

Permanent Injunction Against Enforcement of 6 Percent Satellite-Only

Tax Sought on State and Federal Constitutional Grounds



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    COLUMBUS, Ohio, June 26 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- EchoStar Satellite
 Corporation and its DISH Network, and DIRECTV, Inc., the nation's largest
 providers of satellite television services, this afternoon filed a lawsuit
 against the state of Ohio for passing a discriminatory 6 percent sales tax for
 satellite television service, which Ohio Gov. Bob Taft signed into law earlier
 today.  The sales tax was not imposed on local cable television services, even
 though satellite television companies compete with incumbent cable operators
 in the same market.  The lawsuit was filed in the Court of Common Pleas,
 Franklin County, Ohio.
     The suit seeks a declaratory judgment holding that the satellite-only tax
 is unconstitutional and requests a permanent injunction against enforcement of
 the tax on approximately 700,000* satellite TV customers in Ohio.
     "With this action, DISH Network and DIRECTV are vigorously defending the
 rights of the satellite television customers in Ohio who have selected a
 competitive and affordable alternative to cable television in the free
 marketplace," said Michael McDonnell, senior vice president and chief
 financial officer at EchoStar.  "We will aggressively and proactively
 challenge any state that pursues a discriminatory and unfair tax policy that
 disenfranchises consumers, and our customers, while benefiting local cable
 operators."
     The satellite-only sales tax was sponsored by local cable television
 operators that have exploited the budget crisis in Ohio in their attempt to
 gain an unfair and unconstitutional competitive advantage against
 faster-growing satellite television services.
     "The satellite-only tax flies in the face of both the Ohio and U.S.
 constitutions," said Michael W. Palkovic, senior vice president and chief
 financial officer at DIRECTV.  "Applying a discriminatory tax on satellite
 providers that provide virtually the same product to the same customer gives a
 direct commercial advantage to local cable services that access and place a
 burden on the state's public infrastructure, while discriminating against
 out-of-state satellite television services that do not use the public
 infrastructure nor put demands on the state for the delivery of their
 services.  This discrimination violates the Commerce Clause of the U.S.
 Constitution."
     Tom Zaino, Tax Commissioner for the State of Ohio, addressing a joint
 conference of the Ohio Senate and House of Representatives earlier this month,
 stated that a legal challenge of the satellite-only tax by the satellite TV
 companies has a "significant chance of success."
 
     DIRECTV is the nation's leading digital multichannel television service
 provider with more than 11.4 million customers.  DIRECTV and the Cyclone
 Design logo are registered trademarks of DIRECTV, Inc., a unit of Hughes
 Electronics Corporation.  HUGHES, a unit of General Motors Corporation, is a
 world-leading provider of digital television entertainment, broadband
 satellite networks and services, and global video and data broadcasting.  The
 earnings of HUGHES are used to calculate the earnings attributable to the
 General Motors Class H common stock (NYSE:   GMH).  For more information, visit
 www.DIRECTV.com .
 
     EchoStar Communications Corporation (Nasdaq:   DISH), through its DISH
 Network(TM), is a leading U.S. provider of satellite television entertainment
 services with 8.53 million customers.  DISH Network provides advanced digital
 satellite television services to the home, including hundreds of video, audio
 and data channels, personal video recording, HDTV, sports and international
 programming, professional installation and 24-hour customer service.  For more
 information on DISH Network, visit www.dishnetwork.com , call 800/333-DISSH
 (3474) or contact your local DISH Network retailer.
 
     #TV audience estimates by SkyTrends as of April 1, 2003
 
 

SOURCE DISH Network; DIRECTV, Inc.
RELATED LINKS
http://www.directv.com
http://www.hughes.com

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