The Silencing of Egypt’s Jon Stewart

H. A. Hellyer in Foreign Policy:

ScreenHunter_679 Jun. 05 19.42Egyptians moved their clocks forward an hour a couple of weeks ago following a decision by the country's new rulers to reinstitute daylight saving time, which had been eliminated following Hosni Mubarak's ouster in 2011. For the rather embattled group of revolutionaries who reject the domination of both the military and the Muslim Brotherhood, this inspired a joke: “They are taking away the revolution's only lasting achievement!” It's dark humor, to be sure, but humor in itself can be something quite potent — and to some in Cairo, quite threatening.

Egypt just got a rude wake-up call about that fact. On Monday, Bassem Youssef — the man described as Egypt's “Jon Stewart,” who ran a program gleefully satirizing the country's predominant political narrative —announced that his show was, at least for now, over. The program, calledEl-Bernameg, had already been forced to suspend shooting a few weeks ago, under the pretext that it would unduly influence Egyptian voters in the run-up to the Egyptian presidential election in late May. Of course, all other television shows — including those that unapologetically tried to politically influence viewers — were left untouched. The program was nevertheless due to return on Friday, May 30 — but didn't.

This is the second time Youssef has stopped airing his program.

More here.