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“Jon Stewart of the Arab World;" Fellow, Harvard Kennedy School of Government
Bassem Youssef, dubbed the “Jon Stewart of the Arab World,” was the host of the very popular Egyptian political satire TV show, Al-Bernameg.
In November 2012, the show gained tremendous success through its criticism of the ruling regime and President Morsi, representing the Muslim Brotherhood. Soon after the show started airing, complaints were filed against Youssef, accusing him of insulting Islam and President Morsi and of disrupting public order and peace. Youssef was issued an arrest warrant in March 2013 and turned himself in the next day, where he was questioned for five hours and released on bail.
But the complaints continued, as did recurring direct threats and insults to Youssef by many “Islamist” preachers, media figures and others. In June 2014, the Al-Bernameg team held a press conference where Youssef announced the termination of the show due to pressure on both the show and the airing channel.
In 2013, Youssef was named among the TIME magazine most influential list. The same year, he was awarded the International Press Freedom Award by the Committee to Protect Journalists.
Youssef is currently a spring fellow at the Institute of Politics at the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard. Previously, he majored in cardiothoracic surgery, passed the U.S. Medical License Exam (USMLE) and is a member of the Royal College of Surgeons (MRCS).