London, Asharq Al-Awsat—Minutes before the second episode of the third season of Al-Barnameg was scheduled to be aired, its host channel announced that it would not be broadcast.
Khairy Ramadan, a news anchor at CBC, the private channel that airs popular Egyptian satirist Bassem Youssef’s program, said the delay was due to a dispute between the show’s production team and the channel over violations of the editorial policy by Youssef and his producers.
Ramadan added that the show is to be suspended until the production team and the channel reach settlement over editorial and commercial issues.
Al-Barnameg’s third season opener provoked strong reactions after it was broadcast last Friday, mostly due to its criticism of both the Muslim Brotherhood and army chief Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi.
Host Youssef caused controversy among supporters of the army, which removed Muslim Brotherhood-linked former president Mohamed Mursi in July, with comments in his first program of the season. Perhaps most controversial was his statement that “I am not with the [Islamists], who attacked us and declared us apostates . . . and publicly called for our imprisonment. . . . At the same time, I am not with hypocrisy, deification of individuals and the creation of pharaohs.”
Over the past week, some army supporters staged protests outside the studio where the second episode was being shot.
Following angry reactions to the first episode and a number of legal complaints about the program, CBC distanced itself from Bassem Youssef’s criticism of the widespread support for the army and condemned his mocking comments about “symbols of the Egyptian state.”
But only a few months earlier, the channel defended its star satirist, who gained international prominence after he was targeted by the Mursi Administration for his satirical take on their time in power.
Fans of the show have been calling for the second episode to be broadcast on video-sharing website YouTube. There is precedent for their demands: the first season’s second episode was distributed on the video-sharing website by CBC after Youssef drew widespread criticism for mocking Mursi.