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BLOG: The arrested development of Julian Assange

Zafar Anjum | April 17, 2012
Cyberspace's most famous activist, Julian Assange, has been under house arrest for more than a year now. But he is not keeping quiet.

"The BBC is the leading contestant but the BBC has been acting in a hostile manner towards us so we didn't consider that the BBC would be an appropriate partner," he said.

"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.

In the RT interview, Assange also talked about his experience of working with mainstream media companies like The Guardian and the New York Times. "Any organisation, once it grows to a sufficient size and has sufficient influence, starts having to make political compromises," he said. "And media organisations, by their very nature, are engaged in the political sphere. So the editors and publishers of media organisations have to sit down at the table with power groups, and they start becoming captured by these power groups."

"So, we have found that working with them, when we try to get out our material through organisations, say, such as The Guardian, or the New York Times, or the BBC, that these organisations self-censor in a tremendously frequent manner and in a way which is against their stated values. It is not just against our values."

"It is against their stated values. And in some cases even against the contracts that we have made with those organisations," he added.

Assange even predicted how mainstream media companies will react to his show. "Let's imagine a sort of obvious one," he said. "There's Julian Assange, enemy combatant, traitor, getting into bed with the Kremlin and interviewing terrible radicals from around the world. But I think it's a pretty trivial kind of attack on character. If they actually look at how the show is made: we make it, we have complete editorial control, we believe that all media organisations have an angle, all media organisations have an issue."

This is what CNN had to say about the show: "Commentators outside Russia have questioned the apparent link the show creates between Assange and the Kremlin, given RT's government-funded status."

Whatever the criticism, the world will pay attention to what Assange has to say about the world tomorrow. Bring it on, Assange. We are all ears.

Zafar Anjum is the online editor of MIS Asia, CIO Asia, Computerworld Singapore and Computerworld Malaysia.


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