Controversial Egyptian satirist Bassem Youssef’s television channel suspended his programme on Friday, a week after he returned from a four-month break and fired barbs at the country’s military.
Youssef, known as “Egypt’s Jon Stewart” after modelling his Al-Bernameg (The Programme) on the US comedian’s popular satirical news programme, had already run foul of Islamist president Mohamed Morsi, who was ousted by the military in July.
On Friday, the CBC channel that airs Youssef’s show pulled the plug.
“The channel has decided to suspend Al-Bernameg. The CBC board confirmed that today’s episode indicated that the producers and presenter insisted on violating the editorial policy of the channel,” the network said in a statement read out by a presenter.
It did not elaborate on how the editorial policy had been violated, but said the show would remain suspended “until the technical and commercial problems are solved”.
In last week’s episode — the first since Morsi’s removal — Youssef did not spare the military, provoking fury from some spectators.
He mocked the media coverage of the overthrow, particularly exaggerated claims about the number of demonstrators who took to the streets on June 30 — to call for the Islamist government’s resignation.
The ex-heart surgeon even mocked the country’s new military-installed interim government, in which Adly Mansour is president but army chief General Abdel Fattah al-Sisi is widely seen as calling the shots.
Sisi is leading the popularity charts in Egypt since the ouster of Morsi, with the general’s posters displayed across the country.
A day after the last episode was aired the channel had distanced itself from its contents.
“The CBC board rejects some of the contents of Al-Bernameg episode as it contains insults of some Egyptian nationalist figures,” the channel had said referring to the October 25 episode.
A tide of resurgent nationalism has swept Egypt since Morsi was removed, with Sisi hailed by supporters as the country’s saviour for driving the Muslim Brotherhood from power and launching a deadly crackdown on the movement.
In his previous episode Youssef questioned whether the removal of Morsi was due to a popular revolution.
Soon after being broadcast, several legal complaints had been filed against the show.
Youssef’s return was widely discussed in the social media, with some Facebook groups even calling for his arrest.
Tensions are running high in Egypt, with more than 1,000 people — mostly supporters of Morsi — having been killed in street clashes and militant attacks since the beginning of July.