Political satirist and former comedy show host Bassem Youssef, dubbed the Arab world's Jon Stewart, said he will not return to show business unless he does so on an Egypt-based channel.
“There have been numerous offers from European and American channels to screen 'El-Bernameg', but I've refused them. The show belongs to Egypt and will only be screened in Egypt,” Youssef said in an interview Tuesday with MBC 1, a channel that belongs to the Dubai-based MBC network that hosted his show back in 2014.
“I did not escape, I have been strolling abroad for a year,” said Youssef, commenting on his departure from Egypt following the cancelation of his program.
Youssef's show was suspended a few weeks before presidential elections, which saw the election of Abdel Fattah al-Sisi as head of the country. The move was viewed as an act of censorship by the channel, as the show used to deliver weekly bits of political sarcasm on the patriotic fervor that accompanied Sisi’s ascension to power.
Youssef was also objected to by supporters of former President Mohamed Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood over the show's critical content prior to Morsi’s ouster.
Youssef, a heart surgeon, told MBC1 he currently does not work in medicine or media. “I might be waiting for the right time to come back. There are many things I am doing right now but I will not talk about them until they are finished,” he said.
Edited translation from Al-Masry Al-Youm