Page last updated at 10:35 GMT, Wednesday, 25 November 2009

Iraq government launches its own channel on YouTube

Nouri al-Maliki launches YouTube
Just one in every hundred of the population has access to the net

The Iraq government has followed in the footsteps of the Queen and the Pope and set up its own YouTube channel.

The channel has been set up to promote transparency and allows people to watch speeches and behind-the-scenes footage.

The country's Prime Minister, Nouri al-Maliki, said it was aimed at "people both at home and abroad".

In an opening address on the channel he said it was also an opportunity to show the world what Iraq had been through during the war.

"The government sees in this video technology an opportunity to show our achievements," said Mr al-Maliki.

"The world has not seen what the Iraqi government has been able to achieve in regard to security, economy, politics and building."

He said it was also a "showcase potential investment opportunities" and would be used to show the world the "vigorous war and terror" that Iraq had been through.

Mr al-Maliki said the channel was "one of the methods" that the government would use to "connect with people globally".

However, the first video published on the channel had a key feature disabled, meaning that viewers could not leave comments.

In addition, the web service may be of limited value to many of Iraq's citizens.

The UN estimates that just one in every hundred of the population has access to the internet. It has no figures of the number of people who have broadband subscriptions.

The channel has been set up by the Iraqi National Media Center and says it is aimed at "publicising the most important activities of the Iraqi Government".

Eric Schmidt, head of Google, said it was "exciting to see the Iraqi Government embrace online video as a new way to connect and engage with the Iraqi people and citizens of the web around the world".

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