UK

PJ Harvey Edits Today Programme, Julian Assange And John Pilger Cause A Stir

02/01/2014 11:53 GMT | Updated 23/01/2014 15:52 GMT
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PJ Harvey took the reins on the Today programme on Thursday morning - and caused quite a stir.

Julian Assange was put in charge of Thought for the Day, while leftwing firebrand John Pilger was given a slot to discuss censorship, where he criticised the BBC and Barack Obama.

There was more music than usual, with a full-length folk song after a feature about injured soldiers, and poems including one read by former Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams.

Presenters Sarah Montague and Mishal Husain regularly reminded listeners that the show had been designed by Harvey, whose choices for the flagship news show sharply divided opinion:

The Daily Telegraph picked out criticism of the show as "left wing tosh".

During Thought for the Day, Assange was unapologetic about leaking government secrets.

He said: "To be alive to a human being is to know in the same way that it is to have a heart that beats.

"Documents disclosed by NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden show that governments dare to aspire, through their intelligence agencies, to a god-like knowledge of each and every one of us. But at the same time they hide their actions behind official secrecy."

Speaking on the subject of knowledge and its relationship with power, he said: "As our governments and corporations know more and more about us, we know less and less about them.

"We must be unapologetic about that most basic of humanity - the desire to know."