On The Listening Post this week, the politics of satellite TV news being fought from Washington to Cairo and Ireland has a new blasphemy law that is being challenged online. 

In part one of The Listening Post: There is a battle shaping up over news that is delivered to you via satellite, the way this programme is. With their power to beam across political and geographic borders, satellite news channels coming out of the Middle East cause problems for political leaders in the Arab world and the US.

When it comes to limiting the impact these channels have on their populations, politicians in the US and in a majority of Arab countries have some strikingly similar ideas. Arab governments have tried in the past, and pretty much failed, to rein in satellite channels they do not like.

Recently the US House of Representatives passed a resolution identifying some channels in the Middle East as "terrorist owned and operated". The resolution also calls the satellite companies that carry the channels terrorists. We start our show this week with the satellite news channels and the political war that is brewing over the news they report, and the way their signals are delivered.

Ireland's blasphemy law

In part two, The Listening Post's Sinead O'Shea reports from Ireland. They have a new blasphemy law, and the response from many people in that country has been: Why? In fact, one atheist group has taken to the web to challenge the law, thumbing its nose at the law by publishing a provocative set of blasphemous quotes that are clearly meant to offend.  

Ireland has a history of being staunchly Catholic but in the past few decades the legalisation of divorce along with a series of religious scandals involving Catholic authority figures appears to be moving society away from the influence of the church.

The government says the new law is necessary to protect the rights of new immigrants, who came to Ireland with all kinds of different religious beliefs.

Our report will investigate the implications this law will have for freedom of speech, various religions and the Irish media. 

In this week's Newsbytes: The government of Nouri al-Maliki, the Iraqi prime minister, tightens media rules in the run up to the county's elections as a Reuters photographer in Iraq is finally freed after being held for a-year-and-a-half by the US military. The married Jacob Zuma, the South African president, admits to fathering a child out of wedlock and the live TV broadcast that caught an Australian banker straying from his work.

Finally, with 106 million viewers, the Super Bowl telecast is being called the most watched broadcast in the history of American television. Some of the viewers are not even fans of American football, they tune in to watch the ads.

It is the most expensive commercial time on TV and advertisers pull out all the creative stops to make an impact. The best of the ads - the funniest ones - then go viral and their impact is multiplied. We have chosen three of the ads, all of them with a new media angle, and turned them into our web video of the week. 
Watch video number one, video number two, and video number three.

This episode of The Listening Post can be seen from Friday, February 12, at the following times GMT: Friday: 1230; Saturday: 1030, 2230; Sunday: 0300, 1930; Monday: 0030; Tuesday: 0630, 1630; Wednesday: 0130, 1430; Thursday: 0330, 2330.

Source: Al Jazeera