Despite an earthquake and snap elections, Chechnya has received little media attention
This week on The Listening Post, we lead with a country that has dropped out of the headlines in the last few years - Chechnya. Plus, the US propaganda surge in Iraq.

At the start of October, the war-ravaged and almost forgotten territory of Chechnya, the one-time breakaway region now back under the control of Moscow, was hit by two big stories: an earthquake and a weekend of snap parliamentary elections. However, the territory is conspicuous by its absence from the international media agenda.

We look at why the global mainstream media seems to have a collective blind spot in the Northern Caucasus. And while the Kremlin is putting out its line that the republic is back to normal, voices in Chechnya and in Russia suggest that the separatist battle still rages on.

In part two, The Listening Post's Salah Khadr looks into the US defence department's media offensive in Iraq.

Five years after the invasion and the 'shock and awe' tactics of the coalition forces, the Pentagon has embarked on an 'engage and inspire' initiative to win over the Iraqi people and draw them away from the ideology of the insurgency. While traditional news agencies are drawing down their presence in Iraq, it is boom time for specialist media companies pushing the message of the US-led occupation.

In this week's Newsbytes: the dwindling number of embedded journalists in Iraq; the UK government considers a new tactic in its media war against the Taliban in Afghanistan; a Sunni-Shia online hacking war in the blogosphere; new pictures of Kim Jong-Il seek to dispel rumours that the North Korean leader is unwell; and South Korea proposes new internet laws, to bring news websites under control.

Our Video of the Week is a musical curiosity courtesy of the Internet's 'Beardyman'. A unique combination of pastiche TV chef and beatboxing virtuosity, it has already had more than half a million hits on the web.

Watch part one:

Watch part two:

This episode of The Listening Post aired from Friday, October 17, 2008

Source: Al Jazeera