Iraqi Punk’d

In the West, we’ve long been blessed (or plagued) with reality shows that play pranks on famous people – the most recent iteration being Ashton Kutcher’s Punk’d on MTV. In Iraq, they’re just starting to pioneer the genre, although one with a distinctly – and horrifyingly – Iraqi twist:

An Iraqi reality television program broadcast during Ramadan has been planting fake bombs in celebrities’ cars, having an Iraqi army checkpoint find them and terrifying the celebrities into thinking that they are headed for maximum security prison.

The show “Put Him in [Camp] Bucca” has drawn numerous protests but has stayed on air throughout the fasting month, broadcasting its “stings” on well-known Iraqi personalities.

All of them were ensnared by being invited to the headquarters of the private television station Al Baghdadia to be interviewed, but en route to the station a fake bomb would be planted in their car while they were being searched by Iraqi soldiers, who were in on the deception.

The unwitting celebrities are then secretly filmed, Candid-Camera-style, as they reacted with shock, disbelief and anger as fake checkpoint guards shout abuse at them: “Why do you want to blow us up?” “You are a terrorist.” “How much did they pay you to do it? You will be executed.”

Punk’d Iraqi Style at a Checkpoint [NYTimes]

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