Satirist Bassem Youssef, popularly known as Egypt’s Jon Stewart, announced earlier over the weekend that his show Al-Bernameg or The Program would be taken off-air in Egypt. He claims that his reason for cancelling the show is fear for his personal life and family’s security. Bassem refuses to launch the show, that was originally aired on MBC Misr, from any alternative medium or channel.
"Egypt is witnessing its most glorious days of freedom - and I'll cut off the tongue of anyone who says otherwise," Youssef said in the news conference announcing the cancellation of Al-Bernameg.
Youssef gained popularity when he posted short satirical Youtube videos following protests against Hosni Mubarak in 2011. The following year he also appeared on Jon Stewart's news satire program "The Daily Show.” Al-Bernameg had seen much opposition in the past as well, but the news of its cancelation coinciding with Al-Sisi coming into power, has raised renewed questions about freedom of speech in the new Egypt.
Egypt boasts to be the largest Arabic-speaking country whereas Egyptian shows are popular beyond its borders as well. The news, termed as a big loss for Arab media, comes as a shock to both fans and general public alike. Tweets have been quite clear in showing who the audience feels is to be blamed for this. Below is only a glimpse of what people have been saying:
Even though I didn't agree with all of his views, I respected his work and what he stood for. He will be missed #BassemYoussef— Mahmoud Shehab ElDin (@MahmoudShehab95) June 2, 2014
A country that can't laugh is a country that can't grow #bassemyoussef— ????? ???? (@merna_adel1) June 2, 2014
Bassem and his team termed ending the show this way “a victory” for it as conforming to censorship would have been more of a shame to The Program.
We guess the final tweet sums it all for us: