Iraqi government debuts YouTube channel

At 3 a.m. this morning--11 a.m. Baghdad time--the Iraqi Government went live with its own YouTube channel to share speeches, chats and other footage from the country.

Google says it's an exciting development for free expression in a region of the world that hasn't had the best track record in that area. In the first video, Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki says "it's an opportunity to show the image of Iraq and the achievements of its government. Alos, we hope to show to the world what Iraq went through--a vigorous war and terror." 

The channel will also serve as an archive of Iraqi Government activity.

“New media tools like YouTube help provide a level of access and transparency that has never been possible before in government,” said Eric Schmidt, CEO of Google, in a press release. “It is 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.”

The videos are captioned in both English and Arabic.