Bassem Youssef’s show on mandatory break to ‘not influence elections’

Ahram Online, Saturday 19 Apr 2014

Leading Egyptian satirist's El-Bernameg won't be shown until after voting commences for the upcoming presidential elections in late May

Egyptian satirist Bassem Youssef (Photo: Bassem Youssef official Facebook page)

Egyptian satirist Bassem Youssef’s show, hosted on MBC Misr satellite channel, will not be broadcast until 30 May so that “Egyptian voters’ orientation and public opinion won’t be influenced.”

A statement on the Saudi-owned Egyptian channel's website said that El-Bernameg, Bassem's show, would take an extended break on top of the two-week annual hiatus Youssef had earlier announced.

The channel said it was committed to the electoral process running smoothly, as well as respecting the process itself.

Egypt’s first round of presidential elections is scheduled to take place on 26 and 27 May.

It is unclear whether MBC Misr would stop airing other politically oriented shows on the channel until the presidential elections are over.

Youssef's third season of El-Bernameg resumed 7 February on MBC Misr after being cancelled on Egyptian satellite channel CBC in October 2013.

The show had been suspended following complaints that Youssef had mocked supporters of former army chief Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi and allegedly insulted Egypt's military.

El-Sisi is a strong contender in Egypt’s 2014 presidential race.

In February, Egypt's general prosecution opened up fresh complaints accusing Youssef of insulting the armed forces, the will of the Egyptian people and the "symbols" of both Egypt and its government, thereby threatening the safety and stability of the country.

The prosecutor referred the case to Cairo's appeals prosecution, which is already looking into at least 30 complaints filed against Youssef since November.

The 39-year-old comedian also faced a probe under ousted president Mohamed Morsi over allegations of insulting the president and Islam.

He was a staunch opponent of the ousted president and was influential in diverting public opinion against him and his Islamist allies. 


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