Egypt satirist cancels TV show

"The present climate in Egypt is not suitable for a political satire program," said Egypt's prominent satirist Bassem Youssef.

Egypt satirist cancels TV show

World Bulletin / News Desk

Egypt's prominent satirist Bassem Youssef said on Monday that he has cancelled his program, citing "unsuitable" climate for his satirical show.

"I'm tired of moving from one network to another and of pressures on myself and my team," Youssef told a press conference at his studio in downtown Cairo.

Youssef said that the current political and media atmosphere in Egypt is not "suitable" for his show "Al-Bernameg" (The Program), which was broadcast on the Saudi-owned MBC Misr channel.

"I'm not a revolutionary and I’m not a warrior. I was expressing my views once a week. The present climate in Egypt is not suitable for a political satire program," said the satirist, whose program was modeled after Jon Stewart's The Daily Show.

"I'm tired of struggling and worrying about my safety and that of my family," he added.

The Saudi channel had decided to suspend the program ahead of Egypt's presidential election last week, in which former army chief Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi won a resounding victory.

Youssef, a cardiac doctor by profession, has been under fire from al-Sisi's supporters on claims of "offending" the military, with protesters besieging his studio several times.

Youssef had also been one of staunchest opponent of ousted president Mohamed Morsi, tirelessly mocking Egypt's first civilian president.

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

Social media control scheme draws jokes, fear in Egypt

Where Bassem Youssef left over, however, social media has taken over. A new Twitter hashtag has outrivaled all others in Egyptian cyberspace following an announcement that the Interior Ministry planned to monitor social media.

A large number of activists are using the new hashtag, "We're Being Watched," to express their exasperation with the ministry's plans.

Activists say government monitoring of social-media platforms would herald Egypt's return to the Hosni Mubarak era, when security agencies were free to gag the opposition and muzzle dissent.

According to private Arabic-language daily Al-Watan, the Interior Ministry is planning to monitor Egyptian social media.

The news has ignited discussion among the nation's activists on social-networking websites Facebook and Twitter.

President-elect Abdel-Fatah al-Sisi has taken center stage in most comments posted in this regard.

Some activists joked that they regretted not voting for al-Sisi in last week's presidential election – in which reportedly won by a landslide – or that they had criticized the ex-army chief.

Some known al-Sisi critics replaced anti-Sisi slogans on their Facebook pages with new ones glorifying him, such as "Al-Sisi is Egypt's future," and "I pray God assists him in his mission."

The "We're Being Watched" tag, however, dominated the social-media scene, however, with the administrators of a page carrying the same name saying they were beating all other pages in terms of popularity.

"I've loved al-Sisi from the beginning, by the way," wrote activist Mohamed Mahmoud on his Facebook page. "I voted for him three times during the three-day election."

Another activist converted the words of a patriotic Egyptian song to express his frustration with the Interior Ministry's plans.

"Oh you from Beheira, oh you from Upper Egypt, we're being watched," goes the modified song. "Congratulate each other, al-Sisi became president, we're being watched."

An Interior Ministry official, however, dismissed the notion that the new plan denoted a return to the Mubarak era.

"It can't be considered meddling in other people's privacy," Abdel-Fatah Osman, assistant interior minister for media, told a private Egyptian TV channel.

"We only want to keep an eye on people who make bombs to target innocent Egyptians," he added, describing the ministry's plans to monitor social media as a "scientific achievement."

Last Mod: 03 Haziran 2014, 09:47
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