Andrew Osborn

 

 

Chief Russia Correspondent

 

Deputy Bureau Chief Russia/CIS

 

Reuters

 

 

WikiLeaks: rights to Julian Assange chat show bought by Russian TV

www.telegraph.co.uk, 25th January 2012 11:01

By , Moscow

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has chosen a Kremlin-bankrolled satellite TV channel known for its relentless anti-Western propaganda to broadcast his new talk show.

RT, a Moscow-based channel formerly known as Russia Today, said on Wednesday it had secured exclusive first broadcast rights for Mr Assange’s new 10-part interview show ‘The World Tomorrow.’

“Details of the episodes and the guests featured are secret for now,” RT said in a statement, adding it was proud to be associated with the WikiLeaks founder.

On bail in the UK with strict limits on his freedom of movement pending possible extradition to Sweden on sex crime charges he denies, RT said Mr Assange would interview "’iconoclasts, visionaries and power insiders’" – people Assange can clearly identify with, being a rather controversial figure himself.”

“The 40-year-old Australian media and internet entrepreneur will get to talk about the issues of the day with those he believes will shape the world tomorrow.

Many are already wondering whether it will be as explosive as the biggest mass disclosure of secret documents in US history, also orchestrated by Assange and his team,” it said.

His choice of RT is apt for a man who has made his name exposing the US military’s mistakes and publishing US State Department communiqués that have opened up Washington’s dealings with the world to sometimes embarrassing scrutiny.

RT mixes slavishly loyal pro-Kremlin propaganda with often wacky anti-US and anti-Western reports that it says show the West is in no position to lecture Russia on human rights or anything else. It has revelled in covering the London Riots and the Occupy Wall Street protests and has carved out a niche for itself giving airtime to a succession of marginal conspiracy theorists, some of whom have questioned the official US version of the 9/11 terrorist attacks on the Twin Towers in New York and the Pentagon.

The channel has Spanish and Arabic-language services too and is staffed by a number of British expatriates.

WikiLeaks itself has caused the Kremlin embarrassment in the past by publishing a number of US cables that have described Russia and its top politicians in deeply unflattering terms.