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Iraqi Government Cracks a Window onto Its Workings, via YouTube

BY Nancy Scola | Wednesday, November 25 2009

We've been covering in some detail the U.S. State Department's efforts to foster new conversations and smooth some of life's more difficult transactions using technology, from promoting digital violence tracking in Mexico to encouraging social networking in Pakistan to setting up mobile banking in Afghanistan. Some of these efforts seem simple, but eliminating some of life's fear and confusion -- whether that's engaging with a wider circle of humans or making it physically safe for women to play a role in a country's burgeoning economy -- holds the promise of being transformative. Earlier this year, the State Department took a delegation of U.S. tech company representatives to Baghdad. They met with students, they met with elected officials. And one of the things they heard is that the gap that exists between your average Iraqi trying to make a life for himself or herself and Iraqis in government is frustrating, alienating, and only serves to worsen the assumption of many everyday Iraqi nationals that they don't have a role to play in their country's uncertain future.

This morning, as a direct outgrowth of that trip, Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki announced that the Iraqi national government has just launched its own YouTube channel, online at YouTube.com/IraqiGov. YouTube's Steve Grove has more.