Suspension of satirical shows sparks Egypt outcry

Local media reports have said Youssem was signing in with MBC Misr satellite channel after the CBC decision to suspend his show.

Suspension of satirical shows sparks Egypt outcry

World Bulletin/News Desk

The suspension of a satirical show by an Egyptian satellite channel on claims of "policy violations" has invited a storm of outcry across Egypt.

Prominent satirist Bassem Youssem was due to appear on CBC satellite channel for a new episode of his satirical show "Al-Bernameg", but the network said that the show was suspended for "policy violation".

The network argued that the satirical program will be put on hold until "technical and commercial problems" with the satirist are resolved.

Former vice president Mohamed ElBaradei said that freedom of expression will turn into an "employ slogan" when it is only practiced with "those who agree with us".

"Bravery is to defend the freedom of expression, not to suppress it," the former nuclear chief wrote on Twitter.

Former lawmaker Moustafa al-Naggar said that the satellite channel and freedom of expression "have lost a lot by suspending the show".

"Some people still don't understand that the era of media ban is over," he wrote on his Facebook page.

Cairo University President Gaber Nassar described the show suspension as "a big mistake and narrow-mindedness".

"If I were an information minister, I would have invited Bassem Youssef to air his show on state television," Nassar tweeted. "Quivering hands never build for progress."

The Egyptian Presidency has earlier denied any role behind suspending Youssef's show.

"The presidency respects freedom of expression," presidential media adviser Ahmed al-Meslimani said on Friday.

He described the show suspension as an "internal issue" of television networks.

The powerful military also denied any role behind the show suspension.

"The military underlines the fact that it does not stand against freedom of expression," army spokesman Ahmed Mohamed Ali said in a Facebook statement.

Local media reports have said that Youssem was signing in with MBC Misr satellite channel after the CBC decision to suspend his show.

Youssef, a cardiac doctor by profession, had been one of staunchest opponent of ousted president Mohamed Morsi, tirelessly mocking Egypt's first civilian president.

He was accused by Morsi supporters of offending the president and showing contempt for religion.

Last week, the supreme council of Muslim youth associations filed a lawsuit with Egypt's Prosecutor-General against Youssef on claims of inciting chaos and disturbing public security.

The lawsuit accuses the satirist of intentionally seeking to tarnish Egypt's reputation and comparing Egypt to a "playful woman" who betrays her husband with the army.

The plaintiffs argue that the satirist has described the mass protests that led to Morsi's ouster as a "military coup, accusing Youssef of offending the army chief.

Last Mod: 02 Kasım 2013, 14:16
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