The death toll continues to rise in Iraq
On The Listening Post this week, our lead story is that the government in Baghdad has decided it will no longer supply the United Nations with the figures of civilians killed in fighting there.

News reports will include the number of American and coalition forces killed – but the UN will have no official way of knowing how many civilians have been killed.

We speak to the media - reporters like Patrick Cockburn, from the UK's Independent newspaper, and Al Jazeera English's own Hoda Abdel-Hamid, who try to piece together a complete picture of Iraq.

Then there are private initiatives, such as Iraqbodycount.org, who provide as much information as they can on civilian deaths in the country. Professor Sloboda at Iraqbodycount.org feels that the responsibility for keeping track of the casualties of war is not Baghdad's job alone.
www.iraqbodycount.org

In Newsbytes - Afghanistan shows signs that the country's media is growing less independent as the Afghan parliament considers a new law that would make it a crime to criticise the state or even discuss the relationship between religion and the state. 

Meanwhile, an Iranian news agency reports that all home grown drama programmes on Iranian state run television this coming year will feature one common element – prayer scenes.

Finally, the documentary Loose Change causes a stir on inflight entertainment before it is taken off the menu.

In our feature this week we look at reporting from Gaza. Fixers are behind the scenes of most of the news reports beamed around the world. They are local hires who visiting journalists rely on to do their jobs.

Raed Atharmneh is a fixer who helps journalists in Gaza, Al Jazeera's Witness programme showed a documentary about how he found himself at the heart of one of the world's biggest stories. The Listening Post thought it was worth another look.

Also, MediaChannel's Rory O'Connor and Danny Schechter take a moment out from media bashing to vlog about the importance of the press, on the occasion of World Press Freedom Day. www.mediachannel.org

And our favourite video from the internet this week is a satire of the 24-hour newscast culture.

Watch this episode of The Listening Post here:

Part 1:

Part 2:

This episode of The Listening Post aired from 11 May 2007

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Source: Al Jazeera