Fans protest the shut down of Okasha's controversial talk show

Ahram Online, Saturday 11 Aug 2012

Supporters of television talk show host, Tawfiq Okasha, protest to get his channel back on air after he was charged with inciting violence against President Morsi

Okasha protest
Supporters of Tawfik Okasha protesting in Downtown Cairo, Saturday. (Photo: Ahram)

Dozens of supporters of television talk show host, Tawfiq Okasha, protest in downtown Cairo Saturday afternoon after Egyptian authorities ordered to cease transmission of his television channel on charges of inciting violence.

Demonstrators gathered at the High Court headquarters to protest the suspension of the television channel and its primetime talkshow host,  known for expressing his ultra-nationalist, anti-revolutionary and anti-Brotherhood stances.

Protesters carried pictures of the recently deceased longtime intelligence chief Omar Suleiman, who had applied, but failed to qualify for Egypt's presidency, as well as a picture of former president Gamal Abdel-Nasser, a staunch nationalist.

One protester held a sign accusing Egypt's President Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood of being controlled by the Arab state of Qatar as part of the latter's plan to reign over the region. Another held a sign rejecting the rapprochement with Iran, following the visit of the Iranian Vice President, equating it to normalising relations with Israel.

The order to cease transmission of Okasha's Al-Faraeen channel, executed last Thursday, comes following a lawsuit filed by the Muslim Brotherhood's Freedom and Justice Party (FJP), which accused Okasha of inciting violence against the Brotherhood and encouraging attacks on President Mohamed Morsi, who hails from the Brotherhood's ranks. On Saturday afternoon, another Al-Faraeen host, Hayat El-Dardiry, filed a complaint to the prosecutor-general against the cease-transmission order, arguing that the cut in transmission was made without any prior notice, which she claims is illegal.

Okasha, who had hosted a popular television programme on the channel, has become increasingly anti-Brotherhood, especially after Morsi took the presidential seat.  

He was also a staunch supporter of Morsi's electoral rival, Ahmed Shafiq, and is known for his vocal support of Egypt's Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF).   

Okasha, the son of the channel's owner, is also known for his anti-revolutionary stance, which was most pronounced following the military crackdown on Tahrir Square protesters in December of last year, especially following an incident in which a woman was beaten and partially disrobed by military police.

His commentary on the event left many revolutionaries enraged after he questioned the incident's authenticity.

It is not the first time for Al-Faraeen channel to be taken off the air: in January, transmission was disrupted following a dispute over its permit.

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