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Egypt: Media union refers Yasmin Ezz to interrogation for offensive comments about women

January 16, 2023 at 11:12 am

Egyptian national flags, [Photo by Ashraf Amra]

Chairman of Egypt’s media union has referred Egyptian journalist Yasmin Ezz to interrogation on accusations of inciting violence, following formal complaints made by women’s councils about her TV show.

Two women’s rights bodies in Egypt have filed formal complaints against journalist Yasmin Ezz after a series of offensive comments she has made about women.

On 11 January the Egyptian Centre for Women’s Rights filed one of the complaints and made an official statement rejecting abusive content presented by the TV anchor on Kalam El-Nas, People’s Talk, her show on MBC Egypt.

The Egyptian Council said that Yasmin’s programme is “an insult and is full of contempt for women and belittles and harms them.”

“It includes incitement to violence against Egyptian women and the normalisation of humiliation and beating of wives by husbands and that women must accept violence and humiliation.”

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“Ezz takes advantage of individual cases circulated on social media to normalise domestic violence, spreading ideas that destroy the Egyptian family – the pillar of society,” the National Council for Women said in an official statement which called for the show to be axed.

The NCW is an official government entity which aims to end discrimination against women. However, it has been criticised for only offering limited support to organisations advocating for the rights for women that have been targeted by the government.

Their complaints follow a widely shared Facebook post by Dr Maya Morsi, President of the National Council for Women, in which she said that an “unnamed journalist,” widely considered to be Yasmin Ezz, should remember that her comments will be watched by her children and grandchildren, who will not be proud of what she has said.

Yasmin responded on her own Facebook page to say that she would be proud for her children to watch her programme and that the main goal of her programme is to “preserve the family unit.”

In one episode of her show Yasmin said: “When did we forge to glorify our husbands. If your husband is named Mohamed, you can’t just call him Mohamed. You have to call him Mr Mohamed.”

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In another she said that a girl should never refuse to make a cup of tea for her brother: “She is supposed to bring him a bell at home, and when this bell rings, he finds tea and coffee in front of him immediately.”

Yasmin added that at home, her sister is obliged to do everything her brother asks of her.

Women’s rights have been under the spotlight in Egypt for months now as a series of violent murders of women who turned down marriage proposals has drawn attention to a lack of legal and social protection that has left women vulnerable to attacks, harassment, and sexual violence.

Last year 21-year-old student Naira Ashraf was stabbed 19 times outside Mansoura University.