Popular Iraqi reality show is “considered a key tool in fighting the insurgency.”

There’s a new reality show in the Middle East, and it exists as more than just entertainment. Airing for an hour every night on Iraq’s national (and US-funded) network Al Iraqiya, Terrorism in the Grip of Justice is both “broadly popular and considered a key tool in fighting the insurgency,” according to The Christian Science Monitor. It’s also, as one would expect, both praised and condemned. The paper reports that “critics say the show violates prisoner rights by publicly humiliating suspects before they are proven guilty,” while “supporters say the nightly show helps Iraq fight an insurgency that has no qualms about using video-tapes of beheadings to sow terror.”

The show stars and was created by police commander Abul Waleed, who “wanted to expose the falsehood of jihad,” he tells the paper. And the Monitor notes that “US officers in Iraq say that the nightly show has encouraged more Iraqis to come in with intelligence tips.” Earlier this year, in a piece about the series, The Guardian reported that “those firing 62 mm mortars do not like it and have made the Mosul headquarters of the state channel Al-Iraqiya arguably the most dangerous posting in broadcasting.”

Iraqi reality-TV hit takes fear factor to another level [The Christian Science Monitor]
Trial by television [The Guardian]

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about the writer

Andy Dehnart is a journalist who has covered reality television for more than 15 years and created reality blurred in 2000. A member of the Television Critics Association, his writing and criticism about television, culture, and media has appeared on NPR and in Playboy, Buzzfeed, and many other publications. Andy, 36, also directs the journalism program at Stetson University in Florida, where he teaches creative nonfiction and journalism. He has an M.F.A. in nonfiction writing and literature from Bennington College. More about reality blurred and Andy.