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MTV expands safe sex drama to India, Egypt


“MTV Shuga,” the youth culture network’s drama on sexual behavior that has won an audience across sub-Saharan Africa, will expand with editions in India and Egypt, it announced Tuesday.

The Indian edition, the first outside of Africa, will be called “MTV Nishedh” after the Hindi word for “taboo” and address issues of local significance including HIV/AIDS and child sexual exploitation, MTV said.

The Egyptian version, to be shot in Arabic and whose title was not immediately announced, will be the first “MTV Shuga” in a language other than English and take on subjects such as contraception, child marriage and female genital mutilation, which is commonplace in Egypt.

MTV said the two new editions will begin airing in 2020. The network also announced two new seasons of its main “MTV Shuga” that will air from 2018, both to be shot in Nigeria with subjects to include family planning.

“By going global with ‘MTV Shuga’ and bringing this format to new countries, we are committed to challenging misconceptions and inspiring our audiences to talk openly and honestly about their sexual health, while also mobilizing them to take action to access the services they need,” said Georgia Arnold, MTV International’s senior vice president for social responsibility.

She made the announcement in a statement during an international conference in London on family planning.

MTV — founded as a music network but which has expanded to focus more broadly on youth culture — launched “MTV Shuga” in 2009 to encourage healthy sexual behavior, with the series offered for free to other broadcasters.

Along with Nigeria, previous seasons have taken place in Kenya and South Africa. The Kenyan first season was one of the first major roles for Lupita Nyong’o, who later won an Oscar for her acting in “12 Years a Slave.”

“MTV Shuga” has enjoyed financial support from groups including the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation as well as US government and UN agencies.

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