LONDON -- LiveLeak, the video-sharing website hosting a controversial Dutch anti-Islam film, is a kind of uncensored version of YouTube used notably by soldiers to share footage from warzones.
Based in Manchester, northwest England, it gained a high profile when it was used to post video of the hanging of Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein in December 2006.
At the time LiveLeak was insignificant compared to its US rival YouTube, but millions of websurfers clicked on it to see the controversial video of Saddam's final moments.
Since then it has gone from strength to strength, and has become the main outlet for US soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan to show the world what is happening from their point of view, unedited by the mainstream media.
"A lot of the time it's soldiers that want to share their experiences out there and show people how it really is," said LiveLeak co-founder Hayden Hewitt, who took part in a video debate hosted by NATO last month on the impact of new media on the military.
The site is in the spotlight because far-right Dutch lawmaker Geert Wilders has used it to post his film "Fitna", featuring violent imagery of attacks in New York and Madrid intertwined with Koranic texts.
A handful of Muslim countries had responded to the film early Friday, with Iran saying the short movie showed some Westerners were waging a "vendetta" against Islam, while Bangladesh said the film could have "grave consequences."
LiveLeak has been plugged notably by former British prime minister Tony Blair, as a way of bypassing bias in mainstream and other media.
The site was created in October 2006 from the ashes of another even more extreme website, "Ogrish.com," which showed videos of war atrocities, crimes or road accidents.
Those behind LiveLeak did not respond to telephone calls after the Dutch film was posted Thursday on the site.
But a statement on the site read: "LiveLeak.com has a strict stance on remaining unbiased and allowing freedom of speech as so far as the law and our rules allow," the website said in a statement posted online.
"There was no legal reason to refuse Geert Wilders the right to post his film (Fitna) on LiveLeak.com and it is not our place to censor people based on an emotive response."