Wael al-Ibrashy show cut off on live TV; host blames political pressure
TV host Wael al-Ibrashy - YOUM7/Ahmed Ismail

CAIRO: TV host Wael al-Ibrashy saw his “10 O’clock” late night show cut off live in the middle of a broadcast Sunday, and claimed in comments to Youm7 Monday the cut was due to “political pressure.”

“Shortly before the episode, I was informed that some ministers might have considered resignation over the topics exposed in my program,” Ibrashy told Youm7.

On Sunday’s episode, Ibrashy was discussing an issue related to students’ safety in schools, following a recently reported incident in a Marsa Matrouh school in which a child was accidently killed after a steel gate fell on him. “Schools now kill children,” Ibrashy stated at the beginning of the show.

Ibrashy then interviewed the father of the victim and a deputy from the Ministry of Education named Safey el-Din al-Mawhoub. Yet as soon as Mawhoub started expressing his condolences, Ibrashy interrupted him and said, “Sir, may I remind you that your job is not just to feel sorry.”

Mawhoub eventually continued speaking, and admitted there was a problem in school maintenance due to an insufficient budget, but Ibrashy confronted him with facts and concluded saying, “The lives of children will continue to be endangered.”

The show carried on, and the next segment discussed a large fire at a market in Mahala. Ibrashy introduced the segment by saying citizens were criticizing the government. It was then that the program was cut, just as a video of the fire was about to be displayed.

“10 O’clock” is a very popular talk show on the Dream TV channel that used to be presented by current MBC host Mona el-Shazly. It often adopts a daring approach and is critical of the government’s performance regarding tragedies and serious human issues.

Ibrashy’s harsh tone towards government officials has been a trait of his, and tackling sensitive human issues from a scandalized perspective has been his style since he was the editor-in-chief of Sout al-Omma newspaper between 2006 and 2008.

Despite never being jailed, Ibrashy has faced several legal situations, the most recent one being for an interview with a major eyewitness in the case of the “Second Rafah Massacre” while the case was still ongoing, but Attorney General Hisham Barakat did not charge him.

Before that, the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) was monitoring the government’s opposition to Ibrashy. In 2006, CPJ condemned prosecution charges against him for publishing “articles alleging fraud in the fall elections and calling for formal investigations in the 2005 parliamentary elections.”

In 2010, CPJ called on then Egyptian Minister of Finance Youssef Boutros-Ghali to drop charges against Ibrashy for mounting an editorial campaign to oppose a new and controversial property tax law.

On his show the past week, Ibrashy featured a story of a woman who gave birth in the street in front of a hospital, which later evoked much public outrage.

Also, in November 2012, Ibrashy announced on his show that Dream TV was going to be closed following a crackdown by the Mohamed Morsi regime, which the channel had consistently been highly critical of.

Additional reporting by Ayman Ramadan.

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