The ongoing crackdown on websites in Egypt has only intensified in recent months and it seems it has now expanded to comedy shows. 

On Sunday, Egypt's Supreme Media Regulatory Council banned the broadcast of the Arabic version of the U.S.-based satirical television show Saturday Night Live for using "sexual expressions that are inappropriate for viewers." 

Complaints from various members of the public brought the issue to the Council's Complaints Committee's attention. 

The council investigated the matter and  "confirmed that the program has consistently used sexual phrases and insinuations that cannot be presented to viewers, and violates ethical and professional criteria", a statement read, according to The Guardian

SNL Arabia debuted in February 2016. Since its launch, it has avoided all political references, but little did they know being "too provocative" would affect the show in the same manner.

"The show contains gestures, inappropriate dress, provocative scenes and profane language which violate the moral standard of the Egyptian code of ethics," said Saleh al-Sallhi, a member of the Supreme Council for Media Regulation, according to Egypt Independent

The show was being broadcasted on both the ON TV network and the Dubai-based satellite service Orbit Showtime Network (OSN).

The council sent a cease-and-desist letter to the owner of the private satellite channel ON, which used to broadcast reruns of SNL Arabia, explicitly stating that the airing of the show will not be reversed.

According to The Guardian, it is unclear whether the ban will also affect OSN, which broadcasts new episodes every week in Cairo. 

The decision to ban SNL Arabia "reflects the broader intolerance for any socially challenging narratives in the public sphere and the government’s attempt to protect a narrow and conservative notion of austere morality," said Timothy Kaldas, an analyst at The Tahrir Institute for Middle East Policy, according to the Guardian. 

"Public indecency" is still a vague concept in Egypt

"Media censorship continues"

"Laughing is illegal"

The ongoing crackdown in Egypt

In May, Egypt blocked 21 websites, including Huffington Post Arabi and Doha-based Al Jazeera, for supporting terrorism and publishing lies.

This came soon after the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia took similar measures, banning Al Jazeera and other Qatari-owned as well as Qatari-funded news sources.

Two security sources told Reuters that the outlets were blocked for either having ties with the Islamist organization Muslim Brotherhood or for being funded by Qatar.

Reuters attempted to access five websites named by local Egyptian media, including the Al Jazeera website and Mada Masr and found them all to be inaccessible.

Reuters also found that the Huffington Post's Arabic website was blocked, but the international website was still accessible. Al Sharq, Masr Al Arabia, Arabic 21, Horria Post, and Klmty have all been barred, according to Egyptian Streets.

In August, Egypt added Reporters Without Borders (RSF) - an international media watchdog - to its list of blocked websites. 

In 2017, a Press Freedom report described Egypt as "one of the world’s biggest prisons for journalists" coming in at No. 161 in the 2017 World Press Freedom Index ranking.