FCO's video propaganda makes YouTube debut

It’s all happening in King Charles Street, suddenly. I see there’s a new YouTube channel being operated by the Foreign Office, under the banner of its i-uk website promoting the UK to interested foreigners. Popping up in this video channel is a bit of footage from SoSFA David Miliband’s trip last week to Pakistan.
But you’ll immediately see it’s something rather different to previous Miliband YouTube intrusions. If it looks like a TV news report with no voiceover, that’s because that’s precisely what it is.
For years now, the FCO has funded something called British Satellite News – a daily satellite TV feed of unvoiced news reports, for broadcasters to use within their own programming. It makes no secret of its mission to provide ‘coverage of worldwide topical events and stories from a British perspective’ – and yes, inevitably that means a relentless series of fluffy ‘good news’ stories, with the occasional piece on foreign policy. The FCO says ‘it has a particular but not exclusive focus on the Islamic and Arab world’, which is a change since the days I worked there, although hardly surprising.
This has been around as professional source material for over a decade. A lot of it is available for ‘preview’ in Windows Media format (although only 320×240 resolution) – and whilst they don’t offer a way to download clips for desktop remixing, a Google search will reveal numerous methods. The only surprise is that it’s taken this long to hit YouTube.
Update: Actually, I’ve just come across a BritishSatelliteNews channel on YouTube, which has only been operating for three weeks. These clips, though, come with voiceover. I suppose it’s not strictly being run by the FCO, but by its contracted supplier.