Unreported World

Social Media Martyrs

Series 38 - Episode 3 Social Media Martyrs



In Iraq, being a social media star can have deadly consequences – yet there are young men and women risking their lives under almost constant threat of assassination in order to express themselves online.

Filmmaker Sahar Zand meets millennial musicians, beauty and fashion influencers who are pushing the boundaries amongst religious conservatism in this eye-opening documentary. They include Israa Al Obidia (her ambition is to be Kim Kardashian) who receives death threats and Hamsa Majed, who details her attempted kidnap and her mission to bring those responsible to justice. However, with even her lawyer becoming a target through his association with her, it’s an incredibly fraught and complicated process – and with multiple social media influencers being killed or dying under suspicious circumstances in only two months, the threat is unequivocally real.


Iraqi society has changed over the last five years and young Iraqis in particular want to look increasingly Western - even provocative. Influencing these trends are the social media stars who have garnered millions of followers, so reporter Sahar Zand heads to the troubled nation to meet a few of them. Huge nationwide protests against corruption have been making headlines, but these young millennials are taking on power in a different way - by celebrating beauty, fashion and rap. They have acquired much popularity but, as this programme reveals, fame can have deadly consequences.

Cast & Crew

Reporter Sahar Zand
Director Katie Arnold
Executive Producer Eamonn Matthews
Series Editor Sue Turton