Skip to main content

WikiLeaks founder Assange to make debut as talk show host

By the CNN Wire Staff
April 18, 2012 -- Updated 0039 GMT (0839 HKT)
  • Assange is under house arrest in Britain while fighting extradition to Sweden
  • His new talk show will debut Tuesday on a state-funded Russian network
  • The network and WikiLeaks have suggested his first interview will be controversial

(CNN) -- WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange's talk show, "The World Tomorrow," is expected to make its debut Tuesday on a state-funded Russian television network.

Assange and RT, an English-language international satellite news channel, have not released the guest lineup in advance, but have hinted that the first interview would be controversial. WikiLeaks has asked followers on Twitter if they can guess who the first guest on the show will be.

Assange will present the show from the country estate in Britain where he is under house arrest while fighting extradition to Sweden. He will interview the show's guests either via satellite feed or in person.

"Being under house arrest for so long, it's nice to have an occasional visitor and to learn more about the world," he said in a preview for the show posted on RT's website.

101: WikiLeaks revealed

He said 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.

The talk show has created 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.

But Assange said in the preview that that kind of criticism was "trivial" and insisted he had "complete editorial control."

He said the "obvious" reaction from his critics would be to say, "There's Julian Assange -- an enemy combatant, a traitor -- getting into bed with the Kremlin and interviewing terrible radicals from around the world."

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.

"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," RT 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" says there will be 12 shows in total, each featuring a 26-minute edited interview.

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.

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

CNN's Zarifmo Aslamshoyeva and Jethro Mullen contributed to this report.

Part of complete coverage on
February 6, 2013 -- Updated 1526 GMT (2326 HKT)
Advocates say the exam includes unnecessarily invasive and irrelevant procedures -- like a so-called "two finger" test.
February 6, 2013 -- Updated 0009 GMT (0809 HKT)
Supplies of food, clothing and fuel are running short in Damascus and people are going hungry as the civil war drags on.
February 6, 2013 -- Updated 1801 GMT (0201 HKT)
Supporters of Richard III want a reconstruction of his head to bring a human aspect to a leader portrayed as a murderous villain.
February 5, 2013 -- Updated 1548 GMT (2348 HKT)
Robert Fowler spent 130 days held hostage by the same al Qaeda group that was behind the Algeria massacre. He shares his experience.
February 6, 2013 -- Updated 0507 GMT (1307 HKT)
As "We are the World" plays, a video shows what looks like a nuclear attack on the U.S. Jim Clancy reports on a bizarre video from North Korea.
The relationship is, once again, cold enough to make Obama's much-trumpeted "reset" in Russian-U.S. relations seem thoroughly off the rails.
Ten years on, what do you think the Iraq war has changed in you, and in your country? Send us your thoughts and experiences.
February 5, 2013 -- Updated 1215 GMT (2015 HKT)
Musician Daniela Mercury has sold more than 12 million albums worldwide over a career span of nearly 30 years.
Photojournalist Alison Wright travelled the world to capture its many faces in her latest book, "Face to Face: Portraits of the Human Spirit."
February 6, 2013 -- Updated 0006 GMT (0806 HKT)
Europol claims 380 soccer matches, including top level ones, were fixed - as the scandal widens, CNN's Dan Rivers looks at how it's done.
February 6, 2013 -- Updated 1237 GMT (2037 HKT)
That galaxy far, far away is apparently bigger than first thought. The "Star Wars" franchise will get two spinoff movies, Disney announced.
July 25, 2014 -- Updated 2327 GMT (0727 HKT)
It's an essential part of any trip, an activity we all take part in. Yet almost none of us are any good at it. Souvenir buying is too often an obligatory slog.