Egypt: Bassem Youssef’s TV show suspended


Egypt satirist Bassem Youssef

Popular Egyptian satirist Bassem Youssef’s television show has been suspended just minutes before it was due to go on air.

The private CBC channel said Mr Youssef had not followed editorial policies and wanted more money.

The move comes a week after his al-Bernameg (Programme) show poked fun at the country’s powerful military, triggering complaints.

The decision will heighten concerns about freedom of speech restrictions.

Household name

The CBC channel announced its decision in a statement on Friday evening.

It said Bernameg’s latest taped episode showed that the presenter and his producers “insisted on violating the editorial policy”.

It did not provide details on how the policy had been violated, but added that the political satire show would remain suspended until the problems were solved.

Last week, Mr Youssef’s show took aim at the army and its chief, Gen Abdel Fattah al-Sisi.

The controversial presenter joked about chocolate bars being made in the image of the general.

That show triggered several complaints from viewers, and Egypt’s public prosecutor later ordered an investigation.

In March, the controversial satirist was released on bail after questioning by prosecutors over allegations he insulted Islam and the then-President Mohammed Morsi, who was ousted by the military in July.

In April, a court rejected a lawsuit calling for a ban on his programme.

Bassem Youssef is a doctor who shot to fame after winning a large number of followers with his witty lampooning of public figures in amateur videos posted on the internet following the uprising that ended Hosni Mubarak’s rule in February 2011.

He became a household name when his satirical show – likened to Jon Stewart’s The Daily Show in the US – began to be broadcast.