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Egypt Comedian Investigated for Insulting President Mursi

March 4 (Bloomberg) -- Egypt’s prosecutor-general has ordered an investigation of television comedian Bassem Youssef, following a complaint alleging he insulted President Mohamed Mursi during his satirical program.

The complaint accused Youssef of ridiculing and insulting Mursi by parodying parts of his Feb. 25 interview on the Mehwar satellite channel and suggesting he be awarded an Oscar as best actor, according to an e-mailed statement today.

The lawsuit is the latest of several to be filed against media personalities in what secularists fear is an assault on freedom of expression and the press under Mursi’s Islamist government.

The complaint was filed on behalf of 12 citizens who said they were “psychologically hurt” by the reference to the president.

Youssef, a doctor, rose to fame shortly after the 2011 uprising that pushed Hosni Mubarak from power with a satirical video posted on YouTube. Known for mocking ultraconservative Islamists, Youssef’s show is largely modeled on Jon Stewart’s “The Daily Show,” on which he has appeared.

To contact the reporter on this story: Salma El Wardany in Cairo at selwardany@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Andrew J. Barden at barden@bloomberg.net

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