Bassem Youssef: "The Joke Is Mightier Than the Sword"
Egyptian satirist and former cardiac surgeon Bassem Youssef created and hosted AlBernameg (The Program), a first-of-its-kind satirical news program that aired from 2011 to 2014 in the Middle East. It became the most popular television show in Egypt's history, with an average of 30 million viewers every week. Comedian Jon Stewart and his television show The Daily Show inspired Youssef to begin his career, and the two have guest starred on each other's programs. AlBernameg's humorous yet bold criticism of the region's ruling powers was controversial. Lawsuits were filed against the show and its host, and Youssef was issued an arrest warrant in March 2013. He turned himself in and was questioned for five hours, being subsequently released on bail. The AlBernameg team held a press conference in June 2014, and Youssef announced the termination of the show due to overwhelming pressures on both the show and the airing channel. In 2013, Youssef was named one of the "100 Most Influential People in the World" by TIME magazine and one of Foreign Policy magazine's list of "100 Leading Global Thinkers." He was also received the International Press Freedom Award in 2013 from the Committee to Protect Journalists.
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