Renowned television host Bassem Youssef and “QSoft Ltd,” the production company behind his hit television show, “El-Bernmag” were fined EGP 100 million in compensation to CBC Network, reported Al-Ahram’s Arabic news website.
The Cairo Regional Center International for International Commercial Arbitration ruled last 10 November 2014 that Bassem Youssef and QSoft Ltd pay CBC network EGP 100 million divided into “EGP 50 Million each,” as compensation for breaching their contract and suspending their show in November 2013.
This ruling is the first of its kind within the realm of Egyptian media.
The internationally renowned political satire show, El-Bernameg was pulled off the air by private satellite channel CBC following the first episode of the third season after supporters of then-army chief Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi complained that Youssef had mocked them and the armed forces in November 2013.
Following the show’s removal from CBC, QSoft terminated its contract with the network. CBC on the other hand, viewed this as a breach of contract and a violation of its editorial policies.
QSoft issued a statement on El-Bernameg’s official Facebook page saying that it would not comment on the news in adherence to the rules of the Cairo Regional Center for International Commercial Arbitration.
“In adherence to Article 40 of the Cairo Regional Center for International Commercial Arbitration’s procedural rules, QSoft maintains confidentiality on the arbitration’s proceedings and urges all parties and the media to equally adhere to the procedural rules to avoid legal repercussions.” said the statement.
In his first reaction to the ruling, the physician turned satirist after the 25 January revolution, said on his official Twitter account early Monday that he was being dragged to a dispute that did not concern him.
“I have been dragged to a commercial arbitration dispute on CBC’s suspension of the show which I am not part of, nonetheless, the timing to leak the verdict is questionable,” his tweet read.
A few months after the CBC suspension, Youssef returned to the silver screen via Saudi and German-owned channels MBC Misr and Deutschville, only to once again be suspended months later.
Originally the programme was terminated by MBC Misr thorugh 30 May 2014 to ensure that voters would not be influenced during presidential elections.
In June, Youssef announced in a press conference that the show had been terminated for good because he and his crew realised that it’s better to end the programme rather than “offending it” or changing it, adding that they refused offers to air it from outside Egypt.
Bassem Youssef was reported frequently this year to Egypt’s prosecutor general for insulting the armed forces, the will of the Egyptian people and the “symbols” of the Egyptian government and people, thereby allegedly threatening the safety and stability of the country.
The 39-year-old comedian also faced a probe under ousted president Mohamed Morsi over allegations of insulting the president and Islam.
According to a February poll conducted by Baseera – an independent Egyptian polling agency – El-Bernameg had approximately 8.3 million viewers inside Egypt while Bassem Youssef himself is one the most followed Egyptian celebrities on Twitter.
Source: Ahram Online