- Former Scottish First Minister Alex Salmond defends his new TV show on Russian state-funded RT.
- Salmond tells BI that being on RT will allow him to broadcast “revelations” other channels wouldn’t touch.
- SNP MPs have criticised Salmond for launching the “Alex Salmond Show” on the channel.
- Full Business Insider interview with Salmond will follow soon.
LONDON — Alex Salmond has defended his decision to host a TV show on Russian-funded media outlet RT, claiming that it will allow him to broadcast “revelations” that other channels wouldn’t touch.
The former Scottish first minister has faced condemnation from some of his SNP colleagues for his decision to launch a TV show on the channel, formerly known as Russia Today.
The channel has been accused by critics of acting as a mouthpiece for President Putin, the Russian government and their actions around the world.
However, speaking to Business Insider, Salmond said the channel would give him a freedom to reveal as yet unspecified revelations.
“I have got some really interesting revelations [on my show] which I know I wouldn’t have got [on other TV channels]” he told BI.
“It’s designed to allow people to express their opinion. I want people to have that opportunity.”
Speaking at the launch of the ‘Alex Salmond Show’ in London on Thursday night, Salmond listed a number of prominent politicians who had also appeared on RT, and said the channel had never dictated his views in the past.
Asked whether he was concerned about joining an outlet that is accused of being a propaganda outlet for the Putin-led Russian government, Salmond said
“I have scanned back through Russia Today broadcasting and I counted 50 Labour MPs, 38 Tories, 14 SNPs, seven Liberals, three Sinn Fein, two DUP and a Green. They have all appeared on Russia Today programmes. So, if it’s good enough for John McDonnell, Jeremy Corbyn, Dianne Abbott, John Redwood, Crispin Blunt, Liam Fox, Ian Blackford, Vince Cable and Caroline Lucas, then I can probably withstand any criticism.
“Also, from my own experience in these matters… I have been on RT many times. A year ago a did a show based on the Syrian conflict and I gave a fairly strong condemnation of Russian intervention Syria, and that was broadcast as I said it. It actually provoked quite an interesting international debate where I was called a neo-colonialist, which was a new experience for me. But the point is, the views I had were broadcast as I said them, and I had no complaints whatsoever about that.”
The launch of Salmond’s show was attended by RT employees including MP George Galloway, plus Conservative MP Daniel Kawczynski, who thanked Salmond for sticking up for MPs like him who had appeared on RT. Former Liberal Democrat MP Lembit Öpik was also in attendance.
Salmond defended his show in an interview with BBC Newsnight on Thursday, saying: “I appeared on RT programmes when I was still a Member of Parliament, it would be a bit strange if I said ‘now I’m no longer a Member of Parliament I’m refusing to make my own show with my own production company over which I have total editorial control.
“If it turns out to be Kremlin propaganda, then people can slate me.”
Salmond’s new show will be similar to the former MP’s show at this summer’s Edinburgh Fringe Festival, which featured interviews with the likes of Brexit Secretary David Davis. Salmond, who lost his Westminster seat at the June general election, was tight-lipped on who he has booked to appear on his new RT show, but promised “corkers.”
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