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Iraqi TV shows banned for staging shocking 'terrorist pranks' on celebrities

The Islamic State still claims attacks against Iraqi military and civilian targets [Getty]

Date of publication: 4 May, 2021

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The TV 'insensitive' pranks caused shock in Iraq, which has suffered scores of terror attacks.
Two television shows in Iraq have been suspended after staging fake militant attacks to "prank" celebrities, causing outrage in the country that has been plagued by terrorism. 

The programmes, named "Tony's Bullet" and "Raslan's Shooting", saw public figures targeted in staged kidnappings and having fake suicide vests strapped to them, causing one celebrity to faint out of fear.

Viewers complained that the shows were highly insensitive due to the ongoing terrorist attacks that have killed thousands of Iraqis over the past two decades.

While the Islamic State group - one of the biggest threats to security in Iraq - has lost most of the territories it once controlled, it still carries out periodic bombings, assassinations, and kidnappings.

In one of the shows, a camera follows a celebrity visiting an Iraqi family displaced by the conflict when they're ambushed by "militants". The star is convinced their life is danger until "troops" come to the rescue.

What appeared to be a close shave was, in fact, a candid camera-style television show that was aired during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.

Dargham Abu Rghif, one of the writers on the shows, has defended the pranks by writing on his Facebook page "the scenes are harsh but... if the Islamic State had won, artists would have had a far harder life, and all Iraqis too".

Additional reporting by AFP


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