TV presenter suspended over sexual assault comments

Ahram Online, Wednesday 11 Jun 2014

Tahrir satellite channel suspends Maha Bahnassy over comments that appeared to justify a sexual assault taking place in central Cairo

Maha Bahnassy
TV anchor, Maha Bahnassy, at privately owned channel Tahrir (Photo: Al-Ahram)

Television presenter Maha Bahnassy has been suspended over comments she made about a sexual assault taking place in Tahrir Square on Sunday.

In a live broadcast for Tahrir satellite channel during celebrations for President El-Sisi's inauguration, Bahnassy appeared to justify a reported sexual assault with the comment, "The people are happy, they are having fun."

The comment provoked widespread criticism.

A source at the channel said Bahnassy's weekly show would be hosted by two new presenters.

Tahrir apologised for the comment and said it was committed to defending women's rights and raising awareness about sexual harassment.

During celebrations on Sunday, several accounts of sexual assault in the iconic square were reported.

On Tuesday, six suspects were detained over the attacks.

A recent law – the first of its kind – against sexual harassment was passed last week by former interim president Adly Mansour. It imposes stiff punishments on sexual harassers, including a minimum of six months in prison and hefty fines.

Sexual harassment against women is a rampant problem in Egypt. A United Nations survey from last year suggests that over 99 percent of Egyptian women have suffered some form of sexual harassment, from minor incidents to rape.


Short link: