'Jon Stewart of Egypt' Calls It Quits

Bassem Youssef says 'harassment' led to final decision
By Neal Colgrass,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 2, 2014 5:00 PM CDT
'Jon Stewart of Egypt' Calls It Quits
Egyptian satirist Bassem Youssef, who is known as “Egypt’s Jon Stewart," speaks during a press conference in Cairo, Egypt, Monday, June 2, 2014.   (AP Photo/Amr Nabil)

Looks like Bassem Youssef's reign as the "Egypt's Jon Stewart" is kaput. The popular TV personality and comedian said today in Cairo that he's ending the show—and won't be coming back this time, the Washington Post reports. He divulged little, but referred to "harassment" he and his broadcaster have endured since Egypt's military coup last summer. "The present climate in Egypt is not suitable for a political satire program," said the former surgeon, the Guardian reports. "I'm tired of struggling and worrying about my safety and that of my family."

His hour-long "Al Bernameg" show has been suspended twice in the past few months and Youssef himself has faced charges for angering authorities, the BBC reports. But mocking incoming head of state Abdul-Fattah al-Sisi (in once case, over chocolates bearing al-Sisi's name) was likely the turning point. And Youssef is not alone: al-Sisi has been restricting media since he led the overthrow of former President Mohammed Morsi, Bloomberg reports. When prosecutors slapped al-Jazeera journalists with terrorism-related charges, Human Rights Watch called it proof of "how fast the space for dissent in Egypt is evaporating." (More Bassem Youssef stories.)

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