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Press freedom campaigners puzzled by link-up between Wikileaks leader and pro-Kremlin mouthpiece.
MALMO, Sweden — WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange will host a talk show on Russia Today, the Kremlin-funded English language broadcaster, the group announced on Wednesday.
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The series, called The World Tomorrow, will see Assange meet “iconoclasts, visionaries and power insiders” beginning in mid-March, with initial licensing commitments covering 600m viewers worldwide, Wikileaks said in a press release on its website.
“Through this series I will explore the possibilities for our future in conversations with those who are shaping it,” Julian Assange said. “Are we heading towards utopia, or dystopia, and how we can set our paths?”
Russia Today advertised the new tie-up prominently on its website.
"We're proud to host Julian Assange's new project,” said editor-in-chief Margarita Simonyan. “RT has rallied a global audience of open-minded people who don't take things around them for granted.”
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Press freedom campaigners were baffled by Assange’s decision to work with the channel, which is run by Ria Novosti, the Russian government news agency.
Johann Bihr, who monitors Russia for Reporters without Borders, said:
“This is a media organization which is spreading the word of the Kremlin.
I can understand how Russia Today would like to use him, but I’m not quite sure that he will fulfill their expectations. I doubt that he’s a person who can shut his mouth if he’s ordered to do so.”
Assange is currently under house arrest in the UK, where he is fighting extradition to Sweden to face allegations of sexual assault.
His appeal will be heard in Britain’s Supreme Court in February.
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