Egyptian political satirist Bassem Youssef, one of the most widely watched TV personalities in the Arab world before his show was taken off the air last year, will host this year’s International Emmy Awards in New York City.
While he has been described the Arab world’s answer to U.S. satirist Jon Stewart, “but in fact his talent has no borders,” Bruce L. Paisner, President and CEO of the International Academy of Television Arts & Sciences said about the heart surgeon turned satirist.
“I am extremely honored to be chosen following the footsteps of incredibly funny and distinguished comedians like John Oliver and Matt Lucas who hosted the ceremony in the last two years,” Youssef was quoted by the academy’s website as saying.
In 2013, Youssef received the International Press Freedom Award by the Committee to Protect Journalists
Youssef is a resident fellow at the Harvard Institute of Politics at the John F Kennedy School of Government. He is currently working on a film “Comedy of Arabs.”
In December 2014, the Cairo Regional Centre for International Commercial Arbitration fined Youssef and his company, Q-Soft, 50 million Egyptian pounds ($6.5 million, 5.5 million euros) each for Egyptian broadcaster CBC’s “financial and literary losses,” CBC owner Mohamed al-Amin told AFP.
The arbitration body said the weekly show was not “purposeful and constructive” but a platform for “smearing the country’s political direction.”
It said that if Youssef’s company failed to pay its part of the fine then he would have to shoulder it all himself.
CBC suspended Al-Bernameg in November 2013 after an episode in which the satirist poked fun at military leaders including then army chief and now President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi.
The private channel said at the time that Youssef had “violated the editorial policies” of the channel.
Youssef terminated his contract with the channel after it refused to resume broadcasts of the show, a source close to Al-Bernameg told AFP.