"Prevention of ‘People of Alexandria" from being shown this Ramadan"
With the cancellation of a TV series on police corruption, Makhlouf draws a sleazy puppet master for his daily contribution to the privately-owned Al-Masry Al-Youm. Though billboards for ‘People of Alexandria’ can still be found in Cairo, the show won’t be screened this Ramadan. (In addition to being a holy month, Ramadan is prime TV season in Egypt and across the Arab World, as families sit together watching premieres of blockbusters and soap operas while breaking the daily fast.)
“This kind of masked censorship did not even happen in the era of Hosni Mubarak,” said the show’s writer Belal Fadl, a vocal critic of the regime. Censors told him that, “the series involves elements that could upset the police or stir a political crisis.” Fadl’s commentary on the series’ cancellation is damning.
“I know many refuse to believe the fact that freedoms are deteriorating in Egypt every day. I’ve been warning against this for months through my articles published in Al-Shorouk newspaper, which were banned for similar reasons,” he said. “I know that many will use the excuses of maintaining stability to justify violations of public, political, and media freedoms.”
Mada Masr’s report on the politics of Egyptian television is worth reading in full.
As for which program I will be glued to next month, Doha-based cartoonist Khalid Albaih summed it up last summer:
"Which soap operas are you watching this Ramadan?"
Read my profile of Albaih here.
More cartoons by Makhlouf here.