As­sange screen de­but

The Gold Coast Bulletin - Play Magazine - - PLAY TV -

THE open­ing episode of Ju­lian As­sange’s new talk show fea­tures an in­ter­view with mil­i­tant leader Has­san Nas­ral­lah, whose Syria-backed Hezbol­lah mili­tia is con­sid­ered a ter­ror­ist or­gan­i­sa­tion in the US and Europe.

The half-hour seg­ment on As­sange’s The World To­mor­row show aired on Krem­lin-backed broad­caster RT yes­ter­day and fea­tured ques­tions about Is­rael, Le­banon, Syria, the­ol­ogy and en­cryp­tion. Nas­ral­lah, who is rarely seen on English-lan­guage tele­vi­sion, largely stuck to wellestab­lished po­si­tions.

He re­vealed his group had been in touch with op­po­nents of Syr­ian Pres­i­dent Bashar As­sad, say­ing Hezbol­lah had ‘‘con­tacted el­e­ments of the op­po­si­tion, to en­cour­age them, to fa­cil­i­tate di­a­logue with the regime’’.

Speak­ing through a trans­la­tor, Nas­ral­lah claimed that Hezbol­lah had been re­buffed.

‘‘You have an op­po­si­tion that is not pre­pared for di­a­logue . . . all it wants is to bring down the regime,’’ he says.

Yes­ter­day marked the launch of As­sange’s un­likely ca­reer in tele­vi­sion, and a part­ner­ship with a state-backed sta­tion that many have found un­com­fort­able.

As­sange him­self said he an­tic­i­pated crit­i­cism along the lines of: ‘‘There’s Ju­lian As­sange, en­emy com­bat­ant, traitor, get­ting into bed with the Krem­lin and in­ter­view­ing ter­ri­ble rad­i­cals from around the world.’’

But the Aus­tralian said that RT had a big au­di­ence and his guests had told him things they ‘‘could not say on a main­stream TV net­work’’.

As­sange re­mains un­der strict bail con­di­tions at an undis­closed lo­ca­tion in Eng­land while he fights ex­tra­di­tion to Swe­den on sex crime al­le­ga­tions.

The in­ter­view with Nas­ral­lah was car­ried out via vide­olink.

Has­san Nas­ral­lah and Ju­lian As­sange

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