A provision in the new Islamist-supported Egyptian constitution allows President Mohamed Morsi to prosecute critics and those who insult government officials.
As a result, satirist Bassem Youssef is being investigated by Egyptian prosecutors after being “accused of undermining [President Morsi’s] standing” via the use of satire. And one of the “leading independent newspapers” in Egypt claims it is also being investigated because Morsi accused it of “publishing false news.”
Youssef rose to prominence in Egypt by making fun of Morsi’s overuse of the word “love” in speeches. He had a television program which opened with him holding a red pillow with a photo of Morsi’s face on it, a love song playing in the background.
Empowered by the new constitution, Islamist lawyers failed to see the humor in this, and have charged Youssef with “insulting” Morsi.
On the other hand, the independent newspaper is being investigated for simply reporting Morsi was going to visit a certain hospital, when in fact, it was Morsi’s wife who was scheduled to visit. Many believe it isn’t what the paper reported that got them in trouble so much as it is the fact that the paper is independent, and therefore not in lockstep with Morsi or his agenda.
The Arab Spring continues to produce a cold, cold winter.