Bassem Youssef's El-Bernameg attempts another comeback Friday

Ahram Online, Sunday 2 Feb 2014

If my show is not suspended again it means post-Morsi Egypt is democratic, jokes satirist Bassem Youssef, whose last series was cancelled after he 'mocked' supporters of army chief Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi

Bassem Youssef
Egypt's satirist Bassem Youssef (Photo: Youssef's official Facebook page

Bassem Youssef's El-Bernameg show will return to TV screens on Friday after a three month halt.

The weekly satirical show will be aired on MBC Misr TV channel after Youssef fell out with his former channel CBC.

The internationally renowned show was pulled off the air by private satellite channel CBC following the first episode of the third season after supporters of army chief Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi complained Youssef had mocked them.

Some critics accused Youssef of "fronting" for the now-banned Muslim Brotherhood which has been locked in a fierce struggle against the state since the ouster of president Morsi on 3 July.

QSoft, the production company behind Youssef's show, terminated its contract with CBC after the latter accused QSoft and Youssef's crew of breaching the contract between them.

In an interview with Amr El-Laithy on Al-Hayat TV channel on Saturday night, Youssef said he had chosen to join MBC Misr because it is an Egyptian channel with an Egyptian identity, "falls under Egyptian law" and airs from the Media Production City in 6 October City.

Regarding the state of democracy in post-Morsi Egypt, Youssef sarcastically said: "My show will be aired on Friday; if it continues without suspension then it is a democratic state."

Prosecutors are still investigating complaints by El-Sisi supporters that Youssef insulted the popular defense minister and the Egyptian armed forces on his show.

Youssef told El-Laithy that he did not insult the army on his show, adding that accusations he is an apologist for the Brotherhood are baseless.

The physician turned satirist after the 25 January revolution said he spent the year of Morsi's presidency criticising the Islamist leader much to the liking of those who are now denouncing him.

Youssef expressed opposition to a potential El-Sisi presidential bid saying he believes the army should stay out of politics.

"Whoever runs against El-Sisi won't be running against him but rather against the military establishment and that is not possible," explained Youssef.

Youssef said he might vote for either Nasserist politician Hamdeen Sabbahi or former foreign minister Amr Moussa.

Sabbahi is set to announce his decision to run soon and has been portraying himself as the only revolutionary candidate, while also being critical of a potential El-Sisi candidacy. Moussa, a strong backer of El-Sisi, has said he does not wish to run.

On Monday, the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces empowered Field Marshal Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi to run for president, describing it as a "mandate and an obligation." El-Sisi is yet to announce if he will run or not.

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