By AbdelHalim H. AbdAllah
Activists on Friday called for a boycott against CBC channel following its suspension of the wildly popular satirical news show “Al-Bernameg”, hosted by Bassem Youssef.
Mustafa Al-Hagary, media spokesman for 6 April Movement – the Democratic Front-, has announced that he along with other members of the movement would refrain from making any media appearances on CBC in response to the show’s suspension.
On Friday CBC’s anchor Khairy Ramadan made a statement immediately prior to Youssef’s show saying that ‘Al-Bernameg’ had not been abiding by the editorial policies of the channel and was consequently being suspended.
Presidential media adviser Ahmed El-Moslimany asserted in a statement that the presidency supports freedom of expression and that the CBC decision is strictly an internal matter. The army spokesman, however, has issued no statements regarding the show.
Youssef received support from former Vice President Mohamed El Baradie, who tweeted: “Freedom of speech is the mother of all freedoms; it’s hollow if it’s restricted to those who we agree with. Courage is to defend it rather than repress it. I salute Bassem Youssef.”
Various other political figures have voiced solidarity with Youssef and his show, including Youssef Al Hussainy and members of Tamarod, who have expressed their support for freedom of speech despite disagreement with the content.
On the other hand, there has been no official comment from the Islamist camp, except by Misr Al-Qawia Party spokesman Ahmed Imam, who condemned what he called “the crackdown on freedom of expression that has reached unprecedented rates since 3 July.”
“Beginning with the shutdown of the Islamist satellite channels and mass arrests of their crews, [the regime has continued]with the arrests of journalists, banning of articles, media campaigns that smear any public figure with an opposing opinion, and lastly with the suspension of a satirical show.”
Imam added such “extreme measures” reflect the “weariness of the regime.”
“Al-Bernameg”, which started as a YouTube channel called “B+” has been very controversial since its rise to mainstream media. Youssef, whose satire found major consent among the liberal camp under the government of ousted President Mohamed Morsi, has met with significantly greater resistance by liberals supporting the military, at which much of Youssef’s current satire is aimed.