Sunday, 5 November 2017

Egypt sentence a TV host to jail for speaking about premarital pregnancy

A popular Egyptian television presenter Doaa Salah has been sentenced to three years in prison over a statement she made on her show that was deemed immoral.

A misdemeanor court in Cairo found her guilty of inciting debauchery and sentenced her to three years in prison including a 10,000 Egyptian Pound ($566) fine to be paid to a lawyer who filed the lawsuit against her, reports local news portal Ahram Online.

The episode of her “With Dody” show that got her in trouble was aired on private TV channel Al-Nahar in July when Doaa Salah discussed the choices of women to be single mothers.

Doaa Salah was speaking on her show when the conversation turned to pregnancy. Salah spoke about questions around pregnancy and sex before marriage, inquiring if her audience had ever considered the prospect of engaging in pre-marital sex themselves.

She then suggested that women who have considered children but are afraid of Egypt’s restrictive policies on single parent households could just instead engage in a short term arranged marriage, with an agreement to divorce once the marriage produces children.

For many political pundits, this was interpreted as Salah suggesting alternatives for traditional child rearing for gay and lesbian couples who are considering children. To the Egyptian authorities, Salah’s statement challenged ‘the very fabric of Egyptian life’.

The show was suspended for three months by Egypt’s media union which said the discussion “promoted immoral ideas that are alien to our society and threaten the fabric of the Egyptian family.”

The discussion promoted immoral ideas that are alien to our society and threaten the fabric of the Egyptian family.

They also accused her of performing “bizarre and controversial acts” on her programme including wearing a fake pregnant belly and opening her show with a bubble bath in a bathtub.

Another popular presenter on the same channel Reham Saeed was also suspended for three months for discussing extra-marital affairs by introducing a married woman and her lover.

She has also been accused of exploiting stories for attention, resulting in two prison sentences for defamation which she narrowly escaped after appeals.

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