Iraq cancels TV prank show which fooled guests into thinking they had been kidnapped by Isis

‘The scenes bring back memories of Daesh once again’

Eleanor Sly@eleanor_sly
Friday 07 May 2021 13:02
<p>The show’s presenter, Raslan Haddad, felt the cancellation was unfair </p>

The show’s presenter, Raslan Haddad, felt the cancellation was unfair

Iraq’s media regulator has cancelled a TV prank show which tricked guests into thinking that they had been kidnapped by Isis, following viewer outrage.

The show, known as Tannab Raslan, was being aired by Asia TV as a special during the holy month of Ramadan. Iraq’s Communication and Media Commission however has this week ordered if off air.

The show was criticised as participants and viewers were forced to relive the fear and terror that they had lived in under the rule of Isis.

The show follows a selection of Iraqi celebrity guests, including football players and actors who are invited to a so-called “charity event” but later fall prey to a staged ambush, created by actors who pose as militants.

Later in the show the guests are freed by other actors who play Iraqi security forces. Fake weapons and stunt explosions are also used as are fake suicide vests with everything captured hidden cameras that illustrate the guests’ real genuine fear.

The show has provoked a storm of outrage from angry and upset viewers who have said that the content is highly offensive. Ethics concerns have also been raised.

One Baghdad resident, Bashir al-Saddi said: “The scenes bring back memories of Daesh once again.” He went on to add that it is “not acceptable,” is “inhuman” and “uncivilised.”

Some however complained, including one of the show’s actors and presenter Raslan Haddad, who said that the cancelation was unfair and “unjust”.

Mr Haddad remains unconvinced that the show crossed any lines, claiming that participants “had no objection” to the show as they had “agreed to it.” He also insisted that contractual agreements would lead to the channel receiving huge penalties.

In one of the show’s most controversial episodes, Iraqi actress Nessma Tanneb is filmed as she is taken to a rural area outside Baghdad. This is all under the pretext of meeting a family who has been liberated from Isis rule.

On the journey, she is told at a fake checkpoint that the area they are about to enter is unsafe and that it was under attack by Isis just three hours earlier. Ms Tanneb is clearly worried and asks to turn back, however this is ignored.

Ms Tanneb is later taken into a house where an explosion is heard at which point the actress, in a blindfold, screams and faints. She is later “liberated” by actors who play Iraqi soldiers.

The show was produced by the Popular Mobilisation Forces which is a government-backed umbrella group made up mostly of Shiite militias, many who are backed by Iran and who fought alongside Iraqi security forces against Isis.

During its rule of parts of the country, Isis engaged in abductions, beheadings and enslavement, particularly of women.

Isis was eventually defeated in a three-year campaign, with help from US-led forces, but thousands died in the fight to remove the militants from Iraq. At the height of its power, Isis was in control of one third of Iraq’s territory.

Join our new commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies

View comments