German government turns to YouTube to reach new audiences

Reuters News
Posted: Oct 19, 2011 2:09 PM
German government turns to YouTube to reach new audiences

BERLIN (Reuters) - Germany's government launched its own channel on the video sharing website YouTube on Wednesday in its latest effort to reach new audiences.

YouTube users will have the chance to interview Chancellor Angela Merkel next month in an event to mark the occasion, deputy government spokesman Georg Streiter said.

Streiter said the public was invited to submit written or video questions to the popular website through November 7, and Merkel would answer the 10 most popular questions on November 18 on the "bundesregierung" channel.

"The German government is eager to expand its offering of information and Internet communications through contemporary methods," Streiter told news conference.

"If the media is heading in new directions, we've got to use these channels too to reach the public."

Germany's Pirate Party, which has campaigned for greater privacy on the Internet, has shaken the country's political establishment and its popularity has surged in recent months.

It won a surprising 8.9 percent of votes in a regional election in Berlin last month and has shot up to about 7 to 9 percent in national opinion polls.

So far, the German government has been using the microblogging website Twitter to publish information and Merkel has been making short speeches to Internet users through podcasts.

In the United States, President Barack Obama used YouTube as a method of rallying support during the 2008 presidential campaign.

(Reporting By Erik Kirschbaum; Editing by Karolina Tagaris)