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Home > Country focus > Egypt > Egypt: A Blow to Media Freedoms, CBC Suspends Bassem Youssef’s Satirical (...)

Egypt: A Blow to Media Freedoms, CBC Suspends Bassem Youssef’s Satirical Program

Sunday 3 November 2013, by The Arabic Network for Human Rights Information (ANHRI)

The Arabic Network for Human Rights Information, ANHRI, strongly condemns the fierce campaign against the satirist Bassem Youssef after broadcasting the episode on Friday October 25. The media launched scathing attack, followed by the Hesba complaints that filed against the satirist. And then, there were protests outside Odeon Theater by the Egyptian authorities’ supporters; in a bid to ban Youssef from shooting the second episode after 30 June protests. As a result the board of CBC channel made a decision of suspend the show for an indefinite period.

On Friday November 1, the fans of Bassem Youssef’s show were surprised at the statement of the CBC board to suspend the satirical program of El Bernameg for an indefinite period, allegedly it breaches the channel’s policies over and above both of the producer and presenter of the program insist on breaching the agreements between them and the channel’s board.

This decision was made because of the disputes over the October 25 episode of the program. In addition, the new episode was banned because it has criticisms to the CBC channel itself.

The attorney general, on October 29, remitted the Hesba complaints against the satirist Bassem Youssef to Cairo Appeal Prosecution to start investigations over the accusations of spreading false information that disturbs the public peace, harms the public interest, creates chaos in the country, sows sedition and threatens the security and social peace.

Last Wednesday, October 30, a number of backers of Abdel Fattah Al-Sissi, Minister of Defense, outside Odeon Theater for the purpose of banning Bassem Youssef from shooting the second episode of his show after absence lasted for several months.

“The decision of suspending the satirical program is a blow to freedom of expression after 30 June protests. It confirms the return of the businessmen, owners of satellite stations, to impose censorship in a bid to protect their own interests with the ruling authority. Therefore, it is necessary to review the matter of censoring the media and interfering in the editorial policies and topics that are being broadcasted on the different independent media outlets”, said ANHRI.

ANHRI added that, “The CBC board’s decision is a strange and unjustified. During the reign of the ousted president Mohamed Morsi, the board welcomed the show and defended it. Now, it decided to suspend it because satirical material that similar to what he had been presenting during Morsi’s rule. This matter arouses the doubts that the channel may face pressure by the Egyptian state”.

This is the first test for respecting the freedom of expression by the Egyptian state and media after 30 June protests, particularly after shutting the channels that stand up for the Islamic political movement, whereas the program of Bassem Youssef is the only one that lashed out the authorities and Abdel Fattah Al-Sissi in particular in a direct way, but it’s fate was the confiscation.

ANHRI calls on the board of CBC to reconsider this unfair decision and and to allow Youssef to present his show again.

SOURCE: http://www.anhri.net/en/?p=14137

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