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Iraqi regulator takes down prank show

Asia TV’s Tannab Raslan depicted fake abductions

Iraq’s broadcast regulator the Communication and Media Commission has ordered the cancellation of a prank show in which guests were tricked into thinking they had been abducted by the Islamic State group.

Viewers complained to the regulator after Asia TV aired Tannab Raslan as part of a Ramadan special.

Iraqi celebrity guests were invited to what was apparently a charity event, before being ‘ambushed’ by actors disguised as terrorists. Later in the show, they were freed by other actors dressed as Iraqi soldiers.

In one of the show’s most controversial moments, actress Nessma Tanneb was taken to a building outside Baghdad, supposedly to meet a family freed from the militant group’s rule, before being blindfolded and fainting when she heard an explosion.

Despite viewer outrage, show presenter Raslan Haddad insisted the show hadn’t crossed any boundaries. He said the participants could have “no objection” to the show as they had agreed to take part in it, and that Asia TV would suffer penalties due to the contractual agreements involved.

The show was produced by Iraq’s Popular Mobilisation Forces, a group largely made up of Shiite militia groups that fought against Islamic State and are supported by the government.

At one point, Islamic State ruled one-third of Iraq’s territory, a reign defined by beheadings, kidnappings and the oppression and enslavement of women. The organisation was defeated after a three-year military campaign.

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