Tamer Amin's comment about overpopulation has caused a stir in Egypt. Image Credit: Supplied

Cairo: Egyptian authorities have suspended celebrated TV show host Tamer Amin after he triggered an outcry among natives of south Egypt following remarks over the country’s population increase.

Last week, Tamer said on his night-time talk show on the private Al Nahar TV that in Al Sa’eid or south Egypt, people have too many children. “They send the boys to workshops to earn money and send girls to Cairo to work as domestic helpers,” he added.

Many south Egyptians have deemed his remarks offensive and demanded action against him. Lawmakers representing south Egypt in parliament called for summoning officials in charge of Al Nehar TV to hold them to account.

“The host violated the code of media ethics, ignored objectivity and focused on increasing viewing rates at the expense of Al Sa’eid people by deliberately insulting and making unethical insinuations that have caused psychological damage to them,” the lawmakers said in a statement.

Egypt’s media regulator, the Higher Council for Media Regulation, said that Amin’s show will be halted until Sunday when he is interrogated.

Out of context

Amin’s employer Al Nehar, meanwhile, said it will also question the host and made an apology for what it called an “unintentional mistake”.

Amin apologised for his remarks, saying he did not mean an offence and that his remarks were taken out of context.

“I present a clear and unequivocal apology to all our people in Al Sa’eid,” he said in a statement. “My intention was good and sought to serve common interests,” he added.

Last week, Egyptian President Abdul Fattah Al Sisi warned that population growth rates in the country adversely affect development efforts. “Having more than two children is a very big problem,” he added in televised remarks.

Egypt’s population increased by 2.3 million last year, to reach 108 million people including Egyptians abroad.