By Jake Lippincott
The most recent episode of Bassem Youssef’s popular TV show El-Bernameg was intentionally jammed for the second time this Friday. While the show was only disrupted for around ten minutes last week, this Friday the disruption was much longer and rendered nearly all of the show unwatchable.
Youssef and his satirical news show have gained massive popularity in Egypt. However, the cogent and humorous criticisms of powerful political figures that have made Youssef popular to so many have also caused consistent harassment from successive Egyptian authorities.
In March 2013 Youssef was charged with insulting Islam and former president Mohamed Morsi. After Morsi was deposed, Youssef’s contract at CBC was terminated in October 2013.
However, despite these challenges, Youssef has remained one of the most popular media figures in Egypt, and after he was fired by CBC he was quickly hired by competing station MBC Masr, which continues to broadcast his show.
A group calling itself the Egyptian Cyber Army claimed responsibility for last week’s jamming and seemed to take credit for the more recent disruption, saying: “We are back again with el Bernameg”, in a post released after the incident.
The Egyptian Cyber Army is a previously unknown group which seems to be mainly active on Facebook. The group’s Facebook page is covered with statements praising the Egyptian military and criticising the Muslim Brotherhood; however, it is unclear whether they are tied to the military or acting independently.
Youssef took to Twitter early Saturday morning saying that while he did not know who was responsible, the incident highlighted the Egyptian “state’s inability to protect its satellite industry”.