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On the Listening Post this week: Iraq, the elections and a contentious proposal for a new Journalists Protection Law. Then to Italy, for a closer look at that controversial verdict against Google.

Our lead story this week focuses on a draft media law in Iraq that has sparked anxious debate amongst journalists and media watchers.

The sheer volume of coverage the Iraqi elections generated inside the country was a clear indication of how far the media there has come.

Journalism in Iraq is still much more difficult and dangerous than in the rest of the world, but since 2003 the national journalist corps has grown and now is a force to be reckoned with.

When the government proposed its Journalists Protection Law, it said it was designed with the interests of Iraqi journalists in mind. But the draft law has come under scrutiny from those it is meant to protect.

Just how much of the law will actually safe guard journalists and how much of it will be a shield for those in power?

Our News Divide this week takes a close look at the media scene in Iraq and picks through the detail of the proposed Journalists Protection Law.

Late last month, a judge in the Italian city of Milan ruled against three Google executives in a case of infringement of privacy. The company was being held criminally responsible for violent and offensive content in a 2006 video clip uploaded to its site.

It was the first ruling of its kind and it stirred up huge controversy, not least because new media in Italy has been fending off legal attacks since last year.

The Berlusconi government has locked horns with Google over its online video services and the web is becoming an increasingly powerful tool for the political opposition.

The Listening Post's Meenakshi Ravi reports on the tension between the Berlusconi government and the world of online media.

Newsbytes: Media on the frontlines of the war in Afghanistan could soon look very different: the Afghan government is announcing a new policy on live coverage and the British government is reconsidering embedding journalists with the army.

In Honduras, two journalists are shot at – one is killed. And a Facebook status update brings an Israeli Army raid to a screeching halt.

Our viral video of the week is quite literally viral! Australian rapper Christian Van Vuuran has been quarantined in a Sydney hospital, but instead of succumbing to the boredom, he has been growing his fan following in on the web with his rap reports from his sick bed. Watch it here.

This episode of The Listening Post can be seen from Friday, March 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