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WikiLeaks' Assange to launch TV talk show

By Zarifmo Aslamshoyeva, CNN
April 14, 2012 -- Updated 1005 GMT (1805 HKT)
Julian Assange, founder of the WikiLeaks website, says his first guest on his new talk show will be controversial.
Julian Assange, founder of the WikiLeaks website, says his first guest on his new talk show will be controversial.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Julian Assange's show will air on Russia's RT television network
  • The network and WikiLeaks have suggested his first interview will be controversial
  • Assange is currently under house arrest in the United Kingdom
  • A British court is due to rule on his extradition to Sweden to face sexual assault allegations

(CNN) -- WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange plans to debut a talk show, "The World Tomorrow," on Russia's state-funded television network next week.

Assange and RT, an English-language international satellite news channel, would not release the guest lineup in advance, but hinted that the first interview would be controversial.

WikiLeaks has asked followers on Twitter if they can guess the show's first guest.

"Any bets on who The World Tomorrow's first mystery guest(s) are?" it tweeted.

"You've been waiting and we've been teasing," said RT's website of the show, which will also be released online.

The talk show set for launch Tuesday is creating a stir in global media circles.

Commentators outside Russia have questioned the apparent link the show creates between Assange and the Kremlin, given RT's government-funded status.

It is unclear how or from where Assange, who is under house arrest in the United Kingdom while fighting extradition to Sweden, will present the show.

Britain's Supreme Court is weighing whether Assange should be sent to Sweden to face allegations of rape and sexual assault lodged by two women in the country.

Assange has repeatedly denied any wrongdoing.

Assange, in the online trailer, says that the experience of interviewing guests -- described by RT as opinion formers, some of them dissidents -- while under house arrest brings a different dimension to the process.

"RT is rallying a global audience of open-minded people who question what they see in mainstream media and we are proud to premiere Julian Assange's new project," Editor-in-Chief Margarita Simonyan said in a statement on the television network's website.

"We provided Julian a platform to reach the world and gave him total editorial freedom. He is absolutely the right person to bring alternative opinions to our viewers around the globe."

"The World Tomorrow" will be broadcast [simultaneously] on three RT channels, in English, Arabic and Spanish.

The WikiLeaks website for "The World Tomorrow" said Friday there would be 12 shows in total, each featuring a 26-minute edited interview.

"RT is the first broadcast licensee of the show, but has not been involved in the production process. All editorial decisions have been made by Julian Assange," the website said.

A financial blockade imposed by U.S. banks on WikiLeaks, which facilitates the anonymous leaking of secret information, has been running for about 500 days.

Next week also marks 500 days since the allegations of sexual assault were first made against Assange, WikiLeaks says.

WikiLeaks gained global fame in 2010 with the Iraq and Afghanistan war leaks, and then followed up by leaking nearly a quarter million State Department cables.

In February 2012, it began releasing 5 million e-mails it said belonged to Stratfor, a Texas-based private company that produces intelligence reports for clients.

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