TV Dramas Censored In Egypt
Every evening of Ramadan following the iftar in Egypt, popular TV dramas called ‘musalsalat’ are broadcast across the country and the wider Arab world, attracting viewership rates that would make producers of Game of Thrones and Chernobyl green with envy. These shows have entertained Egyptians while historically also serving as spaces for diverse cultural and political commentary. Since Abdel Fattah el-Sisi deposed his predecessor Mohammed Morsi in a military coup in 2013 and was elected President of Egypt the following year, however, the Egyptian state has cracked down on press and media freedoms and has imposed harsh restrictions on what themes these dramas can explore and what kinds of narratives they can depict. Academic, novelist and former diplomat Ezzedine Fishere has written novels that were adapted for Egyptian TV. He joins us to discuss the culture of Egyptian TV dramas and what government restrictions have done to the industry.