Yosri Fouda won’t renew contract with ONtv
Yosri Fouda

High-profile talk show host Yosri Fouda is calling it quits for his popular program Akher Kalam (The Last Word) after this week, he announced on his official Facebook page on Monday.

The show had aired daily on the privately owned ONtv channel.

“I’m proud of my experience with my team and with ONtv. The end of my contract this year was a chance I have been waiting for to take some breath after the most difficult, yet most beautiful years of our journalistic journey in very tough conditions. I will write more soon,” Fouda wrote in his statement.

It is not clear if Fouda himself wanted out of his contract, or if the channel refused to renew it.

Fouda is known for his criticism of the Armed Forces and his coverage of human rights violations and abuses committed in prisons, while operating in a media landscape that largely ignores such issues.

The journalist and his program’s producers were not available for comment.

The end of Fouda’s show comes at a turbulent time for Egyptian media. Journalists have faced an increasingly brutal crackdown on the freedom of speech and press freedoms since former President Mohamed Morsi was ousted from power last July. At least 13 journalists were killed while covering the unfolding events of the last year, while dozens more were injured and jailed by security forces.

Egypt is a world leader in detaining journalists, trailing behind Turkey, Iran and China for this dubious distinction, according to a report by the New York-based Committee to Protect Journalists.

Earlier this year, a group of journalists working for the Qatar-based Al-Jazeera satellite network was sentenced to 7-10 years in prison for allegedly abetting a terrorist organization and spreading false news aiming to destabilize Egypt and harm its reputation abroad.

Renowned political satirist Bassem Youssef’s popular show Al-Bernamag was suspended both by the privately owned CBC channel, and the Saudi satellite channel MBC Masr. Al-Bernameg had achieved widespread success as the Arab world’s most watched television show, but Youssef cited concerns for his safety and that of his producers after it was canceled in June, 2014.

“All media in the Arab world is under pressure and subject to limitations. To cut a long story short, we were informed that Al-Bernameg is not continuing,” Youssef said at the time.

He added, “We live in the most glorious time of democracy, and I cut out the tongue of anyone who says otherwise.”


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