WikiLeaks founder to host Kremlin-funded TV show

Thu Jan 26, 2012 8:46am EST
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By Nastassia Astrasheuskaya

MOSCOW (Reuters) - Kremlin-funded English language channel Russia Today has given WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange his own TV talk show, the station said this week.

Filming for Assange's television debut is already underway from Britain, where he remains under house arrest outside London while appealing an extradition order to Sweden, it said.

Russia Today - considered a Kremlin exercise in image enhancement by critics - said Assange will invite 10 "key political players, thinkers and revolutionaries" for interviews on a show dubbed "The World Tomorrow," due to air in mid-March.

"Everything we do on the air is different from the English-language mainstream, that is something we have in common with Assange," RT's editor-in-chief Margarita Simonyan told Reuters.

"The show is a perfect fit for RT's motto: 'Question more'," she said. "We are counting on it attracting the interest of a wide audience."

Simonyan refused to say how much Assange will be paid for the chat show.

Beamed to 430 million cable subscribers worldwide, the Kremlin channel offers a rare public platform for a man whose WikiLeaks website has come under intense pressure after publishing a raft of secret U.S. diplomatic cables and seen its ability to fund itself crippled.

Assange, a 40-year-old Australian, has said the refusal of many financial transactions firms - including Visa, MasterCard, PayPal and Western Union - to work with WikiLeaks have damaged the website's ability to continue its work.   Continued...

<p>WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange speaks to the media outside the High Court in London December 5, 2011. REUTERS/Suzanne Plunkett</p>