WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange was one of the guests to feature on the PJ Harvey edited version of BBC Radio 4’s Today programme earlier this morning (January 2).
Assange delivered a special ‘Thought for the Day’ and featured alongside journalist John Pilger and former archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams on the current affairs show. Actor Ralph Fiennes read the poems ‘Austerities’ by Charles Simic and ‘The Fight for Peace’ by Shaker Aamer and the show also featured extracts from works by Tom Waits and Joan Baez.
In a statement on her website at PJ Harvey.net, Harvey wrote: “I hope that the programme you hear, is the programme I wanted you to hear – I have come to realize that a great deal of its content is about censorship in one way or another… As ideas for titles and topics to be discussed took shape, many poems and songs came into my mind. For me, music and poetry can be as persuasive and as powerful as a fine speaker and a fine speech. You will hear songs and poems supporting and highlighting the content of this programme.”
PJ Harvey is one of five guest editors given control over the breakfast show’s programming, including writer and broadcaster Michael Palin, former MI5 Director General Eliza Manningham Buller, Director of World Wide Web Consortium Sir Tim Berners Lee and Barclays Group Chief Executive Antony Jenkins.
Last year, PJ Harvey revealed her first new song since releasing ‘Let England Shake’ in 2011. The track, which is titled ‘Shaker Aamer’, is a protest song designed to raise attention to the plight of a British national imprisoned by the US in Guantanamo Bay since 2002.
‘Let England Shake’ received widespread critical acclaim and was named NME’s Album Of The Year and winner of the Mercury Music Prize in 2011. PJ Harvey released her debut album ‘Dry’ in 1992 and has since gone on to put out a slew of LPs including ‘Rid Of Me’ (1993), ‘To Bring You My Love’ (1995), ‘Stories From The City, Stories From The Sea’ (2000) and ‘White Chalk’ (2007).