According to a statement on the Wikileaks Twitter account, Julian Assange has completed filming twelve episodes of his forthcoming show, “The World Tomorrow”. The first episode will be aired on RT and released online on Tuesday 17 April 2012, with other networks to follow.
In January we reported that although Assange was facing extradition he was still committed to filming a television series which will see him interview “key political players, thinkers and revolutionaries” from around the world.
A video on the Wikileaks website shows a trailer with as much about Wikileaks as it does about Assange’s detention and the reaction of mainstream media and world governments.
The statement reads on the Wikileaks website reads:
Julian Assange, founder and Editor-in-Chief of WikiLeaks, has been under house arrest, without charge, for almost 500 days. In this time he has been staying at Ellingham Hall, home of Vaughan Smith, founder of the Frontline Club, a private members club for journalists.
“The World Tomorrow” is said to be a collection of twelve interviews featuring an eclectic range of guests including ‘politicians, revolutionaries, intellectuals, artists and visionaries’. Assange says that the aim of the show is “to capture and present some of this revolutionary spirit to a global audience. My own work with WikiLeaks hasn’t exactly made my life easier, but it has given us a platform to broadcast world-shifting ideas.”
Assange is known for his blunt observations and statements, no doubt this will be a big part of the draw for viewers who are fans of Wikileaks. Assange says on the Wikileaks site, “My conviction is that power can only be transformed if it is taken seriously – but ordinary people must resist the temptation to defer to the powerful.”
The original music for the show has been composed by British-Sri Lankan artist M.I.A. More information can be found on the Wikileaks website.
The first interview will be broadcast on RT on Tuesday 17 April, at 11:00 London time. Subsequent interviews, edited to last 26 minutes each, will be broadcast on a weekly basis. The interviews and transcripts will also be made available online. Arrangements are currently being made with other licensees to publish longer edits of the series.
The RT network consists of three global news channels broadcasting in English, Spanish and Arabic. RT America broadcasts from its Washington studio and there is also a documentary outlet, Channel RTDoc. RT has a global reach of over 430 million people, or 22% of all cable subscribers worldwide, RT news says that it ‘covers the major issues of our time for viewers wishing to question more’.
RT appears to have the trust of Assange who is known for not getting on with journalists and mainstream news organisations. They have secured exclusive interviews with the Wikileaks boss in the past and this series appears to show that he is still happy with its work. That said, the statement on the Wikileaks Twitlonger page points to Assange having complete editorial control.
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. RT’s rights encompass the first release of 26-minute edits of each episode in English, Spanish and Arabic.
The initial reaction to this news on Wikileak’s Facebook page was not entirely enthusiastic. The impatience of an Internet audience was clear when the statement was first hinted at to arrive at 0600 BST, then moved to 9am UK time and arrived around half an hour late.
But the first flush is not always an indicator of success or failure. Assange’s cult status both on and offline is a strong pull for audiences and curiosity is bound to bring viewers at least for the first couple of episodes.
Ever media savvy, Wikileaks has already begun to drive audience engagement by getting its Twitter followers to speculate on who Assange’s guests will be.
Any bets on who The World Tomorrow’s first mystery guest(s) are? #ExpectAssange
— WikiLeaks (@wikileaks) April 13, 2012