Iraq Comes to YouTube
Google has announced that the Iraqi government has launched a dedicated YouTube channel. It can be found at youtube.com/iraqigov.
The Iraqi government joins the Pope, the Royal Family, Queen Rania, and the presidents of the United States, France, South Korea, and Estonia in having YouTube channels to communicate with the public. Here’s a YouTube message from Iraq’s Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki:
"Earlier this year, I visited Baghdad as a guest of the U.S. State Department to engage in conversations about the role of technology in Iraq," says Hunter Walk, Director of Product Management for YouTube. "In discussions with elected officials, private companies and NGOs, I routinely heard the desire to connect with fellow citizens, Iraqis outside the country’s borders, and cultures across the world."
"But it wasn’t just the Iraqi Government who expressed an interest in YouTube — I was pleasantly surprised by the high level of awareness from a wide variety of Iraqis," he continues. "One young student told us she uses YouTube to understand what is really happening in her country based on the variety of opinions, citizen journalism and news reports uploaded to the site. There was little difference between her examples and those we often hear in other countries, which speaks to both the global community on YouTube and the universality of the video experience."
On a related note, Google CEO Eric Schmidt himself visited Iraq this past week, where he met with government officials. He offered the following video via YouTube’s Citizentube site:
It’s quite interesting to see how online video, social media, and YouTube in particular are changing the way governments connect with the people. It is likely that even more countries’ governments will follow suit in the future.