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CBC show suspended for guest’s claims on Upper Egyptian female infidelity

A short video on the CBC show ‘Momken’ (Its Possible) stirred controversy for its perceived portrayal of women from Upper Egypt as unfaithful to their husbands

Ahram Online , Monday 15 Feb 2016
 Khairy Ramadan
Snapshot from CBC TV of Khairy Ramadan

The Chamber of Media Industry suspended late on Sunday the CBC programme "Momken" (It's Possible), hosted by Khairy Ramadan, for 15 days pending investigations by a legal technical committee on accusations that a guest insulted women from Upper Egypt.

The show hosted Taymour El-Sobky, the Facebook administrator of "Diary of a suffering man", which has over 1 million followers, who said women -- especially from Upper Egypt -- have a tendency to cheat on their husbands.

In response to a question about the main problems of marriage that he receives on his page, he said that women cheat on their husbands, and the latter know, forgive them, then get tired and leave. 

"Thirty percent of women have a readiness for immorality... but just cannot find someone to encourage them," he said, explaining that his page has a significant number of followers, which is revealing.

"Today, it is very normal for a woman to cheat and seek it," he said.

El-Sobky cited Upper Egypt's governorates of Assiut, Minya, Sohag, Qena, Luxor, and Aswan as places where arranged marriages take place, meaning that women often find themselves with men they did not know previously.

The Chamber of Media Industry called on all channels to boycott El-Sobky, adding it would support any legal action against him.

The decisions also included calling for the parliament to issue a law that organises the media collectively so that rights and duties in the industry can be defined.

CBC channel also issued a statement on Sunday apologising for El-Sobky's statements.

"We apologise to all the citizens of the governorates of Upper Egypt, women and men, and to everyone who got offended by this in every Egyptian governorate, and to all the women of Egypt.

“We also assure you that the pride and honour of every Egyptian citizen is a priority and more worthy than anything else," CBC's statement said.

CBC said that the video, which was approximately five minutes long, was extracted from an episode that was aired two months ago, and did not include any objections from anyone regarding El-Sobky's comments.

The clip made it appear as if the channel was only showing one side of the story, "which contradicts reality," the CBC statement added apologitically.

CBC's statement also read that the rest of the episode included replies from people who called in to refute El-Sobky's conclusions, as well as ojections from the host and the other guests on the show.

The administration at CBC decided to boycott El-Sobky, "in respect to popular sentiment because people were “hurt by what he said.”

The Press Syndicate also issued a statement late on Sunday condemning the content of the controversial video CBC aired.

"While the Press Syndicate appreciates CBC channel's apology about the video that angered Egyptian women, its assurance that it is partial to the views and that they do not represent the channel's opinion about Egyptian women, it [the Press Syndicate] calls upon journalists and media people to watch out and not be dragged into the crises that distract us from discussing the main issue in society.

"It also calls for not repeating this in the future and to avoid hosting such people who insult women or any sect of the society, in respect of all citizens' feelings and to protect public safety and societal cohesion." 

After receiving threats death threats, El-Sobky apologised in a video last Thursday, saying his words were taken out of context by administrators of Facebook pages in Upper Egypt who shared the video, adding that even his mother is from Upper Egypt's Qena.

"I strongly apologise if my words in the episode were misunderstood and I call upon people to watch the whole episode and they will find that I did not offend or insult. It is impossible that I would insult the women of Upper Egypt or women in general. 

"On my page, I discuss marriage situations sarcastically. And I apologise for the third time, as the issue has taken another turn. I get death threats, and reports have been filed to the police to protect myself and my family. I apologise again and I did not mean to offend anyone by any means."

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