Every night at 9pm thousands entertainment-starved Iraqis tune in to the state-run al-Iraqiya channel to see the “confessions” by insurgents, with recently added victims’ families who hurl abuse at the suspects and detail their crimes.
Terror in the Grip of Justice is the latest weapon in the Government’s propaganda war against the insurgents, exposing them as the enemies of Iraqis and cautioning those tempted to join them.
The authorities insist that the confessions are genuine, although many wonder whether the statements are made by ashamed killers or simply bad B-actors.
The show has become the most watched ever on al-Iraqiya, an unpopular channel set up and funded by the Americans. The Americans, who no longer supervise the station’s output, say they have no hand in the show which was conceived by the Interior Ministry to demonstrate the authorities’ fight against the insurgency.
Insurgents have begun a propaganda counter-offensive, denouncing the tapes as fakes and threatening to impose “God’s justice” on the station’s employees — a threat apparently made real with the killing of Raeda Wazan, an anchor- woman, last month.
Related: Psychological warfare.