The state decided to suspend the TV show “Hot Files” following an interview between TV anchor Ayten El-Mogy and Islamic researcher and author Sayed Al-Qemany, which was aired two weeks ago on a state-owned channel.
The head of the channel received a call from the Grand Imam of Al-Azhar, Ahmed Al-Tayeb, who strongly disapproved of interview. ‘”How can state TV allow Sayed Al-Qemany on its screens?” he asked and h hung up after insulting the head of the channel.
Following Al-Tayeb’s phone call, the head of the channel decided to suspend the show and ordered the crew to change the show’s content and come up with another idea.
The episode sparked outrage from Al-Azhar; the show was accused of defending religious minorities and promoting their ideologies and allowing Al-Qemany to demand that the parliament revoke contempt of religion law, all of which resulted in the order to shut the show down.
According to Journalists Against Torture, El-Mogy said she asked the head of the channel to interview the author a month ago but he refused because Al-Qemany holds views that are against societal values and norms. He told her to request permission from the head of the TV sector Magdy Lachin, who immediately accepted.
Following the suspension order, a verbal dispute took place between Al-Mogy and head of the channel. In the end, they agreed to organise a committee who would assess the episode. Al-Mogy noted that the episode received a positive reaction from audiences and everyone working on the channel, especially since it came after several episodes discussing and criticising the contempt of religion law.
Recently, novelist Ahmed Nagy was sentenced to two years in prison on charges of publishing and writing an article with “obscene sexual content”, which sparked outrage among social media users, intellectuals, journalists, and human rights organisations.
Journalists, intellectuals, and public figures called for solidarity with Nagy in several statements and a conference, as well as with other writers and scholars who have been prosecuted due to the content of their work.