Story by the Associated Press; curated by Dave Urbanski
CAIRO (AP) — The signal of a Saudi-based television network was deliberately jammed while airing the show of Egypt’s top satirist, the broadcaster’s spokesman said Saturday, the latest disruption to hit the popular program.
TheBlaze has frequently covered Bassem Youssef, often compared to U.S. comedian Jon Stewart, as he’s stirred controversy and sometimes faced legal challenges over his skewering of Egyptian politicians and media personalities. MBC Masr’s signal was jammed while broadcasting Friday.
During Youssef’s show — “El-Bernameg” or “The Program” in Arabic — the screen froze then blacked out for minutes several times. In the episode Youssef mocked media personalities and politicians who argue that Egyptians are not ready for democracy.
The channel issued a statement shortly after the show saying the disruption on its Egyptian affiliate also affected other channels and was reported from many spots around the Arab world.
Spokesman Mazen Hayek said the network’s satellite carrier identified small satellite transmitters in two Cairo locations as the cause of the jamming during the program. Hayek said it was not possible to identify who was behind the jamming or where exactly it emanated from.
“It is a form of terrorism,” Hayek told the Associated Press on the phone.
Several channels, including Doha-based Al-Jazeera, faced similar jamming during mass protests that swept through the Arab world since 2011, toppling a number of leaders.
The Saudi broadcaster began airing Youssef’s show in February after another private channel suspended it last fall for attacking “symbols of the state” in an episode in which he ridiculed a surge of nationalist sentiment.
Authorities investigated him for the episode, aired on the Egyptian network CBC, over charges of disrupting public order and insulting Egypt and military leaders.
After his return to the airwaves, Youssef continued to mock pro-army commentators and took a jab at a military claim to have found a cure for AIDS and Hepatitis without providing scientific backing.
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