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article imageIraqi reality TV show plants fake bombs as gag

By Lynn Curwin     Sep 8, 2010 in Entertainment
Baghdad - An Iraqi television show, which plants fake bombs in celebrities’ cars and then accuses them of being terrorists, has upset many people.
“Put Him in [Camp] Bucca” arranges for well-known Iraqis to come to the Al Baghdadia station for an interview. They are stopped on the way by soldiers, who are part of the deception and plant a fake bomb while searching the vehicle.
The actors, singers, comedians and artists are secretly filmed as they are accused of being terrorists and threatened with prison or execution.
Dismayed acting celebrities claim they know nothing about the bomb and are honourable citizens.
The New York Times reported that it is unclear how much of the show is staged with the celebrities’ knowledge.
The program’s name refers to the American-built high-security prison called Camp Bucca that held Iraqi detainees before being closed in 2009.
“Al-Baghdadia did it in an official way. They sent us a document asking us for permission to do this television show,” The New York Times quoted Kifah al-Majeed, an official with the Baghdad Operations Command, which runs the Iraqi security forces in the capital, as saying. “We agreed, so al-Baghdadia did nothing wrong.”
The producers claimed the show made people laugh and didn’t hurt anyone. They said that, after the prank took place, the celebrities agreed with airing what had occurred
Ali al-Khalidi, the show’s host, who appears on screen in many of the setups, said: “The show will continue until the end of Ramadan. Yes, there have been a lot of things said about it in the newspapers and on radio and television, but it will go on.”
The majority of the viewers comments left on the Al Baghdadia web site were negative, although some people said they found it humorous.
The show was being broadcast throughout the month of Ramadan, which started on August 11.
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