Egypt got a little less funny Friday night. Bassem Youssef, the comedian who hosts a satirical news show that draws comparisons to The Daily Show in the U.S., was abruptly pulled off the airwaves minutes before his new episode was about to air.
CBC, the station that airs Youssef's The Program, issued a statement minutes before Friday's episode was supposed to air announcing the show was suspended indefinitely. According to the statement, Youssef's show was pulled because it violated an editorial agreement between the station, the comedian and the show's producers, though it was unclear what the violation was. CBC said The Program will stay off the air until the station "solved the technical and administrative problems specific to the program."
Youssef returned to the air last week after a four month hiatus, during which Muslim Brotherhood president Muhammah Morsi was ousted from power and Egypt switched to military-backed rule. His first show criticized the sweeping love for Egypt's current leader, Gen. Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, while tip-toeing around criticizing the general himself. This led to some protests, and legal threats from Egyptian prosecutors.
So what's the big deal? According to people present at the pre-recorded show's taping, Youssef didn't spend very much time criticizing the Egyptian government, so that's not what got him yanked from the air. Instead, it's more likely his show was pulled because of an extended rant against CBC and its editorial policies. The government didn't need to take Youssef down -- and previous regimes have tried -- because CBC did it for them.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.
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