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Glenn Halbrooks

WikiLeaks Founder Julian Assange Raises His Media Profile

By February 2, 2012

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WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange faces mounting legal troubles. He appears to be responding by raising his media profile, perhaps to become better known and to raise public sympathy.

A photo of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange
WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange is going on television in response to mounting legal troubles.
Photo © Getty Images
You'll be able to hear his voice in the February 19 episode of The Simpsons. Producers say his guest role avoids his controversial background.

In addition, Assange says he's launching a TV talk show. Don't expect to find it competing with Katie, the upcoming afternoon talk show from Katie Couric. Little is known about Assange's show, except that it appears it will air on RT, which is probably not in your cable or satellite TV lineup. It's an English-language Russian station, funded by the Kremlin. I'm not sure if it's available in HD.

To recap Assange's legal issues, he is fighting extradition from Great Britain to Sweden, where he is accused of sex crimes involving two women. He maintains the case against him is political.

Assange and his WikiLeaks website received international attention over the publishing of secret government documents. While supporters say WikiLeaks is a whistleblower site which gives the public important information about their governments, critics say dumping documents online compromises security.

As a result, Fox News reports that WikiLeaks servers may be moved offshore to prevent U.S. government prosecution. You may remember in 2010, the U.S. Air Force blocked computer access to The New York Times and other sites that posted U.S. State Department documents. That action took the controversy from cyberspace and put it into the realm of traditional news reporting.

When public figures are hit from so many sides with accusations and legal action, they sometimes hide under a rock. Assange's attempts to raise his media profile aren't likely to affect his court battles, but they could bring him some new global public support. That's one reason he's one of the 10 media people to watch in 2012.

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