Scourge of Egypt media mocked for 'plagiarism'

CAIRO- A satirist renowned for attacking what he calls unprofessionalism in Egypt's media has been pilloried on Twitter for plagiarism after he admitted not crediting analysis in his weekly column.
Bassem Youssef tweeted an apology hours after his column appeared in Tuesday's independent daily Al-Shourouk.
But this still did not prevent a barrage of accusations of hypocrisy and claims that he owned up only after being caught.

The ex-heart surgeon rose to prominence with his weekly television show Al-Bernameg (The Programme), poking fun at Islamist president Mohamed Morsi and his supporters during Morsi's single turbulent year in office.
"Bassem teaches us every week that the media should be clean and trusted, LOL" (laugh out loud), one Twitter user calling himself ProfO wrote.
Youssef regularly accuses Egyptian journalists of being unprofessional.
He blamed his workload for not making clear he had lifted large sections of his column from a piece published on US website by Moscow-based journalist Ben Judah.
"I bear responsibility for not adding the sources at the end, it was added later, I deeply apologise," he tweeted.
In a separate apology on Al-Shourouk's website, Youssef said: "Tuesday is the most difficult day of the week for Al-Bernameg's crew, as it is when we finish writing the episode and the preparation of the guests."
The apologies did little to halt the deluge of criticism, although they were accepted by the author of the original piece.
- 'I accept apology' -
"Youssef only 'apologised' and only added the 'sources' after we exposed him," Omar Kamel said on his Twitter account.
Judah tweeted an appeal to Egyptians to forgive the satirist for borrowing from his piece "Why Russia No Longer Fears the West".
"I was victim of stolen article, I accept apology, forgive man," he wrote.
But on Thursday, Judah announced he was going offline as the reaction to the alleged plagiarism of his article took on an increasingly anti-Semitic tone.
"Dear Egyptians! I will be going off Twitter now for days until the Jew-hating rage subsides," he wrote.
Some Egyptian Twitter users also expressed shock at their compatriots' focus on the background of the journalist who penned the analysis of Moscow's defiance of the West in Crimea, rather than Youssef's failure to credit him.
"Even worse than plagiarism is the hostile anti-Semitism shown by many," student Amir Beshay wrote on his account.
Since his show returned in October, Youssef has turned his attention to Egypt's interim authorities, poking fun at army chief Abdel Fattah al-Sisi and the frenzy surrounding him.
A tide of resurgent nationalism has swept the country, with Sisi hailed by supporters as Egypt's saviour for driving Morsi from power in July and launching a deadly crackdown on his Muslim Brotherhood movement.
Youssef's show was pulled by the private CBC channel, only to make a comeback three months later on a different channel.
He is nicknamed "the Egyptian Jon Stewart" after the American comedian he emulates.
Youssef was prosecuted under Morsi's rule, allegedly for "threatening public security" and "insulting religion".

Friday, March 21st 2014

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