Edward Snowden, Fugitive NSA Whistleblower, To Deliver Channel 4's Alternative Christmas Message

Edward Snowden, the US whistleblower who revealed the extent of American and British surveillance programmes, is to give Channel 4's alternative Christmas message on Wednesday.

The fugitive, who is currently in Russia, gave a major interview to the Washington Post, which was published on Monday night, saying that his mission had been "accomplished". "For me, in terms of personal satisfaction, the mission's already accomplished," he told the newspaper. "I already won."

However, the former NSA contractor's appearance on the British channel will be his first recorded film since he arrived in Moscow in June. Snowden's video, which will follow previous Christmas messages from Baroness Lawrence and Sharon Osbourne, will be a defence of privacy, according to the channel, focusing on why mass indiscriminate surveillance by governments of their people is wrong.

Snowden will reference author George Orwell in his recording

Snowden will say: "Great Britain's George Orwell warned us of the danger of this kind of information. The types of collection in the book - microphones and video cameras, TVs that watch us - are nothing compared to what we have available today. We have sensors in our pockets that track us everywhere we go. Think about what this means for the privacy of the average person.

"A child born today will grow up with no conception of privacy at all. They'll never know what it means to have a private moment to themselves, an unrecorded, unanalysed thought. And that's a problem because privacy matters, privacy is what allows us to determine who we are and who we want to be.

"The conversation occurring today will determine the amount of trust we can place both in the technology that surrounds us and the government that regulates it. Together we can find a better balance, end mass surveillance and remind the government that if it really wants to know how we feel, asking is always cheaper than spying."

According to Dorothy Byrne, Channels 4's head of news and current affairs, Snowden was courted to give the annual message because his "decision to reveal the extent of surveillance programmes was one of the most significant news events of the year". Byrne added: "The information which he has placed in the public domain raises serious questions for democratic society. This is an opportunity for our viewers to hear from him directly and judge for themselves what he has to say."

Snowden's Christmas message will be his first major filming since he arrived in Russia

More from the Press Association:

Computer analyst Snowden became a wanted man more than seven months ago when his leaks brought to light secret National Security Agency documents which revealed widespread US surveillance on phone and internet communications. It led to not only embarrassment but also friction with other countries when the extent of the surveillance emerged.

Snowden's passport was revoked and a warrant was issued for his arrest - for passing on classified information and theft of government property - when his leaks came to light.

The Alternative Christmas Message will be broadcast on Christmas day at 4.15pm (GMT) on Channel 4.