Egyptian satirist Bassem Youssef's popularity rebounds

Ahram Online, Monday 24 Feb 2014

El-Bernameg returned on 7 February after being cancelled by CBC in October following complaints by supporters of army chief Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi

Bassem Youssef
Egyptian TV host Bassem Youssef (Photo: AP)

The popularity of Bassem Youssef's El-Bernameg show has rebounded since he was criticised for mocking supporters of army chief Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi.

In a February poll by Baseera – an independent Egyptian polling agency – 68 percent of respondents aged between 18 and 29 said they liked the show, up from 47 percent in October. The figure for respondents aged over 50 was 35 percent, compared to 22 percent in October.

The show has approximately 8.3 million viewers inside Egypt, Baseera said.

The percentage of those who approved of the show's closure - a demand made repeatedly by Youssef's critics - has fallen from 44 percent in October to 36 percent in February. While 47 percent of respondents said they disapproved of the show's closure, compared to 48 percent in October.

Youssef's show was very popular before the ouster of Morsi in July, 2013 as he relentlessly focused his satire against the troubled Islamist president, his followers and religious preachers who supported him. 

However, Youssef came under strong attack from supporters of the Field Marshal Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi after the ouster of Morsi when he started mocking supporters of the army chief Abdel-Fattah whose popularity had significantly increased after he announced Morsi's ouster last July following mass protests against the Islamist leader.

The show's third series was suspended by CBC satellite channel in October following complaints that Youssef had mocked supporters of army chief Abdel-Fatah El-Sisi and allegedly insulted Egypt's military.

Youssef later signed a contract with MBC group and the show resumed on 7 February.

Prosecutors are currently investigating fresh complaints by El-Sisi supporters that Youssef insulted the army chief and the armed forces.

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