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Listening Post
Iraq war information clamp down
The Pentagon has imposed new rules limiting soldiers' war blogs.
Last Modified: 15 Aug 2007 11:31 GMT

A ban on cameras at the scene of bombings is
making it harder to get information from Iraq
 
In this week's global media show, The Listening Post, Richard Gizbert looks at the information clamp down on news coming out of Iraq, the intense media coverage surrounding the disappearance of Madeleine McCann, the English girl who went missing in Portugal, and the Egyptian judge trying to silence the country's outspoken bloggers.

The main story this week is the systematic shut down of information on the Iraq war.

The withholding of civilian casualty figures by the Iraqi government, a fresh ban on cameras where bombings have occurred and new Pentagon rules limiting soldiers' war blogs are making it increasingly difficult to get a clear picture of what is happening on the ground.

Many American soldiers say they are the ones reporting the real story. The advent of military bloggers recording their own personal accounts of war has thrown a wrench into the information works. Recently the US defence department issued new orders that blogging soldiers must now get clearance from their commanders.

These new restrictions come at a time when the Bush administration is trying to sell a surge. But with so many citizen journalists covering the war, it may prove harder than expected to suppress new media's take on Iraq.

The media have struggled to report the story
of Madeleine McCann's disappearance
 
Our other main story is the continuing media fascination with the disappearance of an English girl from a Portuguese holiday resort.

Journalists descended on the town of Praia da Luz in their hundreds to cover the hunt for Madeleine McCann who went missing on May 3.

With little information forthcoming from the police, Madeleine's parents Kate and Gerry McCann have played a significant role in keeping their daughter's profile high on the news agenda - giving regular press conferences and making daily appearances for the cameras.

Despite the openness of 'Team McCann' as the family calls itself, the media have struggled to report on the story because of a 19th century law of judicial secrecy in Portugal that bans the police from releasing details of ongoing criminal investigations.

In Newsbytes we look at the other big media stories this week.

The Egyptian judge who sent blogger Karim Amer to prison, wants to block 50 more web sites that he claims insult Egypt and its president.

Plus Pope Benedict spoke out against violent and vulgar television programmes on world communication day.

Finally our foray into state run television is this little gem from Chinese television on how to fold your shirts correctly. Watch and learn

Watch this episode of The Listening Post here:

Part 1:

Part 2:

This episode of The Listening Post aired from 25 May 2007

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