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Bassem Youssef’s show has been cancelled, will not return to television

Bassem Youssef’s show has been cancelled, will not return to television

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Bassem Youssef’s popular political satire show will not be returning to Egyptian television screens, says the political satirist during a press conference.

MBC Misr had earlier this week announced the decision to not air ‘El Bernameg’ as scheduled on May 30, without giving any explanation.

In a press conference, Bassem Youssef, who has won multiple awards and was featured in TIME’s 100 Most Influential People in 2012, declared that the program is over.

“The present climate is not suitable for this political satire program,” said Dr Youssef. “I am tired of fearing and worrying about my personal safety of me and for my family.”

Dr Youssef added that El-Bernameg will not continue on MBC and that it will not be aired on any other channel for circumstances beyond both his and MBC’s control.

“Maybe disappearance of Al-Bernameg will force [people/revolutionaries] to think about new, more creative means of [opposition].”

Bassem Youssef and his team announce the end of the show at a press conference
Bassem Youssef and his team announce the end of the show at a press conference

‘Censorship?’

“Those who think there has not been pressure are delusional,” said Dr Youssef, hinting at pressure to pull his show off air and adding that adapting to the pressure would have changed the nature of the show.

Following the announcement of the show’s suspension earlier this week and the announcement of the cancellation, the top trending tweet in Egypt was “long live El-Bernameg.”

Social media users expressed concern that the show has been censored due to Dr Youssef’s criticism of the hype surrounding former Military Chief and Egypt’s next President, Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi.

The show had initially been suspended in April in order to avoid ‘influencing public opinion and the voters’ choice of President ahead of elections.’

The suspension came weeks after El-Bernameg had re-aired on MBC Misr following a scandal involving private Egyptian satellite channel CBC in 2013.

El-Bernameg was banned from airing on CBC by executives following complaints that the 39-year-old former heart surgeon had mocked the military and other media personalities.

Bassem Youssef and Jon Stewart of the Daily Show have become close acquaintances
Bassem Youssef and Jon Stewart of the Daily Show have become close acquaintances

El-Bernameg under investigation

Dr Youssef’s El-Bernameg has been under investigation since the start of 2014 amid claims that the show insults the military, the government and the will of Egyptian people.

The show has been accused of threatening national security and stability amid ‘desperate times.’

Yet, the investigations are not the first. During the rule of deposed President Mohammed Morsi, Dr Youssef was summoned and questioned by the prosecution over charges of insulting the deposed President and Islam.

At the time of the investigation, The Daily Show’s Jon Stewart quipped “If your regime can’t handle a joke, you don’t have a regime.”

Death of satire?

Supporters of Dr Youssef have claimed that the show’s boldness is behind attempts to ‘silence’ it.

“In the first episode, Bassem Youssef delicatedly criticized the Egyptian military and the cult surrounding the chairman of the armed forces, Abdel Fattah Saeed Hussein Khalil al-Sisi,” explained Jonathon Guyer.

“Bassem Youssef was eating cupcakes with al-Sisi’s face on them and making jokes about how many he should buy to prove his patriotism.”

Dr Youssef’s open criticism of the government and local Egyptian media led to the rise of the allegations that the political satirist is an ‘agent of the USA’ and an ‘enemy of Egypt.’

Criticism of Dr Youssef heightened after he was accused of plagiarism in March 2014.

An Arabic article on the Ukrainian crisis written by Dr Youssef and published on Al-Shorouq was found to be a copy of an English version published by Ben Judah in Politico Magazine.

The political satirist explained that he was deeply sorry and that his citation of the original article, despite his intentions, had not been listed.

Despite the criticism, the reaction on social media to the show’s delay or termination shows that many still long to see Dr Youssef’s return to television screens.

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  • michael

    dear joe
    I think you have hit the nail on his head
    I think he was a failure in his medicine practice so he turn to a comedian !!!!!

    • Failure in medicine? With an MRCS, American board and PhD?
      Just shut up if you don’t know what you are talking about …

      • michael

        If he is an MRCS , he will be better to practice his talent , perhaps he will cure and save people in need, been a comedian on TV doesn’t help people, I still think this guy is a clown, and for your information smartass, medicine and politics is an important talent in our society and not a laughing matter, people like him and you led Egypt to that mess , go and have live young man

        • Michaels Son and Grandson

          Perhaps you are just an old Fuck supporting the only thing you know: dictatorship and theft of freedom and future. Can you laugh? Can you see that you are destroying any chance of change. No change = no improvement. No improvement cuz you can’t hear the truth. Stupid old man.

  • Joe

    The guy is a clown and if he was walking into do my cardiac operation I would discharge myself immediately! and!! we’ve had enough of the one pose Mr Bean face already……

    • I would love to see you walking into a cardiac operation …

      • Quicksolver

        Ahahahahahaha

  • michael

    I think he should go back to practice medicine,and leave comments and decisions making to politicians ,
    people like him just create confusions and misunderstanding in the society

    • People like him speak the truth in a sarcastic way.

      • Quicksolver

        They truly do. I don’t think there has ever been anyone more truthful in the media than him, at least he’s not brainwashed.

    • Quicksolver

      I think the politicians in egypt are hilariously incompetent to the point a practitioner of medicine like him leaves much more sensible comments than any of them has ever made.

      To me, he saved more lives doing this than practicing medicine. How the HELL does he make decisions for anyone? They keep banning him left and right because the military leaders are a bunch of disgruntled, constipated little 5 year olds who can’t take a goddamn joke about their stupid ass berets and dictatorship once in their puny worthless lives.

      How on earth can we possibly call Egypt a country with an official religion like Islam or Christianity? Clearly the only deities they have ever worshipped over there are in the military. A joke about them is treated as a joke against God Almighty Himself.

    • Michaels Son and Grandson

      I think you should just live your few remaining years and don’t fuck up young generations future. Are you confused? yes? Then educate yourself. If not, what the fuck are you thinking then?

      • Guest

        fuck up young generations? you’re living in a bubble

      • Quicksolver

        If you’re going to swear, at least learn the English needed to do it. I’m 25, I AM from the generation you’re referring to. (I can’t tell from your poor grammar).

        I’m sick and tired from this blind correlation of my future with an idiot in a military outfit trying to pass himself off as a civilian president. My future is mine alone and only God Almighty can decide it for me, and no army knucklehead like Sissy will stand between us.

        Sissy makes Morsi and the Ikhwan look like angels, and everyone knows how horrible they were. At least back then people like Bassem spoke out.

        What a bunch of uneducated idiots your generation has racked, I can’t believe someone half your age is schooling you on democracy and freedom, on the internet of all places.

        Oh wait, that’s right, your generation’s leaders shot most of us who tried that.

    • Biff Jay

      Oh right, but all the other Egyptian political talk shows and their idiotic hosts are just fine. Seriously? Why is it OK for John Stewart to have a show in U.S., or political satire shows in other countries? But somehow it’s not OK in Egypt? Is Egypt handicapped something?

    • Amr Khader

      I dont think you know who he is, so leave your comments to yourself.

      • Quicksolver

        It’s fine. Like Bassem, we learn to put up with ignorance quite easily. This isn’t even a warm-up.

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Mohamed Khairat is the Founder and Chief Editor of Egyptian Streets.

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