First Published: 2014-06-02

‘Enormous’ pressure forces Bassem Youssef to cancel show
Bassem Youssef cancels television show which mocked ex-army chief and president-in-waiting Sisi because of ‘enormous’ pressure.
Middle East Online

‘We preferred to end programme rather than demean it’

CAIRO - Egyptian satirist Bassem Youssef said on Monday he has cancelled his television show which mocked ex-army chief and president-in-waiting Abdel Fattah al-Sisi because of "enormous" pressure.

The heart surgeon turned comedian, often compared to US satirist Jon Stewart, had moved to Saudi-owned channel MBC last year after his show was suspended by the private Egyptian broadcaster CBC.

MBC's Egyptian affiliate which aired the weekly show Al-Bernameg (The Programme) said in April the show would be taken off air in May to avoid "influencing" the presidential election that Sisi won.

"The circumstances and pressure were more enormous than anyone," Youssef said at a press conference. "We preferred to end the programme rather than demean it."

Sisi won last week's election with more than 90 percent of the vote, riding a wave of nationalistic fervour after deposing the elected Islamist president Mohamed Morsi in July.

Youssef had mocked the cult like adulation of Sisi's supporters, and increasing intolerance of criticism of the retired field marshal and the army.

He also faced prosecution under the divisive Morsi, who the army overthrew after millions of protesters demanded his resignation.

Since then, the military-installed government has launched a crackdown on Morsi's Muslim Brotherhood in which at least 1,400 people died in street clashes.

More than 15,000 people have been arrested, including secular activists who protested against the new regime.

"This isn't a suitable atmosphere for a comedy show," Youssef said.

 

World leaders condemn Britain terror attack

UN-backed Syria talks restart in Geneva

10 Egyptian soldiers killed in Sinai roadside bombings

Erdogan warns Europeans risk being ‘unsafe’ on world’s streets

Saudi film festival launch postponed after sandstorm

Britain arrests eight as IS claims Westminster attack

Man attempts to drive into crowd of shoppers in Belgium’s Antwerp

Palestinian FA chief says ball in Israel's court

Israel arrests Jewish teen over anti-Semitic terror threats

An Egypt court is to reopen a corruption probe into Mubarak

Bahrain frees award-winning AFP photographer

Erdogan slams 'pressure' on Turks in Bulgaria ahead of vote

Israel policeman suspended after caught on video beating Palestinian

Turkey summons Russia envoy over soldier death in Syria

Bahrain sentences three to death for police bombings

EU summons Turkey envoy over 'safety' remarks

400,000 'trapped' in west Mosul's Old City

Qaeda, IS developing harder-to-detect bombs say experts

Terrorist attack at London’s Houses of Parliament

2016 saw sharp rise in illegal Israeli settlement projects

US-led coalition vows lasting victory against IS

Bahrain arrests photographer on unspecified charges

Humanitarian groups demand access to Yemen civilians suffering 'open-air massacre'

33 killed in US-led air strike on north Syria

Rights group says Libyan military committed war crimes

Israel seals East Jerusalem home of Palestinian attacker's family

Migrants in Europe at risk of drug-resistant tuberculosis

Iraqis urged to avoid hurried mass grave exhumations

Turkey steps up objection to US flight laptop ban

Britain joins US in banning laptops on flights from Turkey, Arab world

Anti-IS coalition gathers in Washington to hear Trump plan

Turkey links Gulen to murder of Armenian journalist

Kuwait bans hit movie ‘Beauty and the Beast’

Five dead in Mogadishu bombing

Khamenei fleshes out 'Made in Iran' vision

Turkey to ask US to reverse flight laptop ban

Israeli army says Hezbollah commander killed by own men

Kurds celebrate Newroz in Turkey's southeast despite shooting

Turkey’s AKP says no more campaign rallies in Germany

Chinese president calls for peace in meeting with Netanyahu

Iraq forces gain ground in Mosul

US bans electronic devices from cabins on Middle East flights

Erdogan says yes vote best response to 'fascist Europe'

Arab Israeli woman gets 50 months prison for joining IS

All Syria sides confirm attendance at Geneva talks