Egypt TV host acquitted of charges of incitement against President Morsi

Ahram Online, AFP, Tuesday 8 Jan 2013

Controversial TV host and fierce Morsi critic Tawfiq Okasha is found not guilty of inciting the public against Egypt's president

A Giza criminal court on Tuesday found controversial television presenter Tawfiq Okasha not guilty of charges of inciting Egyptians to overthrow and kill Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi.

Okasha's supporters, waiting for the verdict outside the courthouse Tuesday morning, broke out in cheers as Okasha was acquitted, shouting out, "Bread, Freedom; Okasha is the best."

Calls for "bread" and "freedom" have been oft-heard revolutionary slogans since the Tahrir Square uprising that ousted former president Hosni Mubarak in early 2011, although Okasha is known for his anti-revolution stands.

Charges levelled against Okasha include encouraging viewers to protest against President Morsi in public squares throughout Egypt.

Okasha, whose television channel Al-Faraeen was suspended for not paying the required fee to its satellite host in November, has often been accused offending key political personalities and revolutionary figures.

His 'Egypt Today' talk show, which has been suspended since Al-Faraeen was taken off air, has also been accused by detractors of promoting a negative image of the president, who hails from Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood.

In its last hearing, the court heard a recording of Okasha blaming Muslim Brotherhood founder Hassan El-Banna for promoting Zionism via Islam.

Okasha also spoke in the recording about how he had networked with influential American Jews when he had travelled to the United States.

Several television hosts, journalists and media figures have recently faced charges of insulting the president, including satirical television host Bassem Youssef.

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