DW Director General on Bassem Youssef: "Bad sign for freedom of expression in Egypt"

Bassem Youssef with DW (Arabia) moderator Jaafar Abdul-Karim (PresseBox) (Bonn, ) DW Director General Peter Limbourg responded to the cancellation of the Egyptian political satirist Bassem Youssef's successful program "AlBernameg," commenting: "This is a bad sign for freedom of expression in Egypt."

Limbourg said: "Bassem Youssef displayed great courage with his fearless reports on political and societal developments in Egypt. We perfectly understand that, in view of what was s obviously overwhelming intimidation, he has decided not to continue with his program."

DW secured rebroadcasting rights for the satirical program at the beginning of the year. From mid-February, "AlBernameg" could be viewed across the Arab world on DW (Arabia). In February, Youssef paid tribute to DW's role as a broadcaster, saying that as an "advocate of freedom of speech" it stood for "objective reporting without censorship."

The channel MBC Egypt, which held the initial broadcasting rights, was forced to suspend the program up to and beyond the presidential elections at the end of May as a result of what was clearly political pressure. On Monday (June 2), Bassem Youssef announced in Cairo that he had to cancel his show.

Director General Peter Limbourg said that DW had held numerous talks. "We would like to express our great respect for the entire team of 'AlBernameg,'" he said. "DW will continue to support Bassem Youssef in the name of freedom of expression and of the press. I am delighted that we will have him as our guest at DW Global Media Forum in Bonn from June 30 to July 2."

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