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Egypt's Bassem Youssef says El-Bernameg unlikely to return

Youssef's satirical show has been off air since 2014

Ahram Online , Friday 1 May 2015
Bassem Youssef
Popular Egyptian satirist Bassem Youssef talks during a news conference in Cairo in this June 2, 2014 file photo (Photo: Reuters)
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Egyptian satirist Bassem Youssef has said he doesn't think his political comedy show El-Bernameg ("The Programme") will return to the air in Egypt anytime soon. 

"I hope it will come back some day; I don't think it will come back now. I don't think the circumstances are suitable for the show to come back, it's really out of my hands," he told the BBC in an interview on Friday.

When asked if he considers Egypt safe for a satirist at the moment, BBC's James Reevell says Youssef, whose show was suspended last year, became "more cagey."

"Is it safe? Yeah, err, let's hope it safe - how's that for an answer?" he said.

Earlier in April, Youssef received a silver medal for his work as a television host from the New York Festivals International Television and Film Awards.

The heart surgeon, who became a popular figure on YouTube and then on television after the January 2011 revolution, gained widespread popularity for his satirical show El-Bernameg.

During the one-year-rule of president Mohamed Morsi, the ruling Islamists were often targets of the show's biting satire.

Morsi was ousted in 2013, and in 2014 Youssef suspended his show, which last aired on Saudi-owned channel MBC Misr, after coming under political pressure not to criticise the post-Morsi authorities.

Youssef is currently a resident fellow at Harvard University’s Institute of Politics. He has also been a recurring guest on Jon Stewart’s Daily Show.

A February 2014 poll by Baseera, an independent Egyptian polling agency, showed El-Bernameg garnered approximately 8.3 million viewers inside Egypt.

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