TV presenter jailed in Egypt for interviewing a gay man


Mohamed al-Gheiti, a popular television presenter in Egypt, has been sentenced to a year in jail for daring to interview a gay man on air.

Gheiti spoke to the unnamed man, whose face was blurred, on his talk show in August last year. In the interview, the man talked about being a sex worker and his relationship with another man.

The show led the country’s Supreme Council for Media Regulation to suspend the private LTC TV channel for two weeks.

Despite having spoken out against homosexuality, Gheiti was also held personally liable for “promoting homosexuality” and for contempt of religion by doing the interview.

On Sunday, he was sentenced by a Giza court to one year in prison, fined 3,000 Egyptian pounds (R2,300 / US$167) and ordered to be put under surveillance for a year after he completes his sentence. Gheiti is allowed to appeal the decision.

In 2017, the Supreme Council for Media Regulation banned the appearance of homosexuals or “their slogans” in the media.

“Homosexuality is a sickness and disgrace that would be better hidden from view and not promoted for dissemination until it is treated and its disgrace removed,” said the council at the time. “This is to preserve order and public decency and out of respect for the values and correct beliefs of society.”

The council made it illegal “for homosexuals to appear in any media outlet whether written, audio, or visual, except when they acknowledge the fact that their conduct is inappropriate and repent for it.”

While homosexuality is not currently specifically outlawed in Egypt, LGBTQ people are routinely targeted and jailed through “immorality” and public indecency laws.

In September 2017, the act of waving rainbow flags at a music concert in Cairo sparked a vicious media and state hate campaign against LGBTQ people. Dozens were arrested on charges such as “debauchery” and “homosexual activity” in the ensuing clampdown and many were sentenced to up to three years in jail.

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