An influential Egyptian talk show host has suspended his show in protest of media censorship, he said in a statement on Friday, amid rising discontent from journalists towards the ruling military. Yosri Fouda, host of the Last Word show on the private satellite channel ONTV, said there had been “a noticeable deterioration in media freedoms accompanied by a noticeable laxity towards the media’s bathos (triviality).”
“The deterioration and laxity spring from a belief held by those in authority that the media can deny an existing reality or fabricate a reality that does not exist,” he wrote in a statement on his Facebook page. Fouda said he would be “indefinitely suspending” his show, which did not air on Thursday night.
His talk show had hosted top commanders of the military, which took power after a popular revolt ousted president Hosni Mubarak in February, as well as activists who oppose the ruling generals. Fouda, a former London bureau chief for the Qatari-owned Al-Jazeera news channel, would politely but persistently question the generals, while allowing activists to air criticism of the military.
The military, which has inveighed against what it calls sensationalist journalism, has denied that it censors the media. It also defended state television’s controversial coverage of a deadly clash between soldiers and Christians earlier this month which killed 25 people, mostly Christians, outside the state television building. State television aired footage of a soldier calling Christians “the sons of dogs” and was accused of inciting its audience to side with soldiers in the fighting.