TODAY

TODAY   |  April 04, 2013

Comedian arrested for insulting Egypt’s president

Bassam Youssef, the man known as the Jon Stewart of Egypt, delights in poking fun at Egypt President Mohamed Morsi, but may have gone too far recently when he was arrested and charged with “insulting the president.” NBC’s Andrea Mitchell reports.

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>>> but let us begin with an unusual controversy between the u.s. and egypt involving jon stewart , if you can believe that. foreign affairs correspondent andrea mitchell explains.

>> they call him the jon stewart of egypt . a comedian who is poking fun at egypt 's new president morsi. he's done guest spots on "the daily show ." but in today's egypt , you can only go so far with satire. perhaps it was the silly hat joke that broke the camel's back. so the government arrested the comedian charging him with insulting the president. no joke.

>> making fun of the president's hats and less than fluent english, that was my entire career for eight years. do you have any idea? that's all i did.

>> but when the u.s. embassy in cairo tweeted a link to stewart's show, he tweeted his anger. it's inappropriate to engage in such negative propaganda they wrote.

>> we've had some glitches with the way the twitter feed has been managed.

>> this is not the first time the u.s. embassy in cairo has stumbled when it comes to twitter diplomacy. getting the message right in 140 characters.

>> a tweet last september 11th led to charges the embassy was apologizing to america's critics. out on bail, he said he's not afraid.

>> they going to put me in jail? stop my show? there's always youtube. close down youtube, you're going to leave the country.

>> reporter: jon stewart 's advice to president morsi, lighten up.

>> i'm going to let you in on a secret. the world's watching. democracy isn't a democracy if it only lasts up until someone makes fun of your hat.

>> reporter: for today, andrea mitchell , nbc news washington.