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6 Feb, 2024 22:35

Carlson reveals Musk’s Putin interview pledge

The X (formerly Twitter) owner will not censor the American commentator’s much-hyped sit-down with the Russian president
Carlson reveals Musk’s Putin interview pledge

Billionaire owner of X (formerly Twitter) Elon Musk has pledged not to censor Tucker Carlson’s interview with Russian President Vladimir Putin when it is posted on the platform, the American journalist claimed in a video he posted from Moscow on Tuesday. 

Carlson has been in Moscow for at least four days, sparking rumors that he planned to interview the Russian president. He confirmed his intention in the video, which has received over 260,000 likes. 

He praised Musk for his pledge “not to block or suppress the interview once we post it on his platform X,” confirming that the video would be available without a paywall to anyone who chose to watch it on the journalist’s own website as well.

“Western governments, by contrast, will certainly do their best to censor this video on other less principled platforms, because that’s what they do – they are afraid of information they can’t control,” the journalist continued, encouraging Americans to watch the interview in order to educate themselves on the “history-altering developments” unfolding in Russia and Ukraine. 

After assuming control of what was then called Twitter in late 2022, Musk famously partnered with a group of journalists to release internal communications that were widely accepted as proof that multiple US government agencies had been unconstitutionally suppressing the spread of narratives they found undesirable on social media.

Musk’s decision to allow numerous prominent banned users back on X – including former US president Donald Trump and, more recently, Infowars host Alex Jones – was praised by free speech advocates, including Carlson. The former Fox News host launched an independent talk show streaming on X last year after he was fired from hosting the number-one prime-time show in the US for reasons that have still not been made public.

While Musk presented himself as a free-speech absolutist when buying the platform, X has significantly increased its compliance with government content takedown requests since his takeover, honoring 80% of such orders compared to 50% under his predecessors, according to a report published last year by tech outlet Rest of World. This has not stopped Western governments, including the EU, from demanding he crack down on “disinformation” and “hate speech,” threatening severe penalties for noncompliance.

Like Carlson, Musk has been a vocal advocate for peace in Ukraine, repeatedly warning Washington against provoking a direct conflict with Moscow that could spiral into a third world war. Accordingly, while he provided Ukraine with free access to his company SpaceX’s Starlink satellite internet service, he has refused to enable the system near Crimea, preventing Kiev from using it to facilitate attacks on the Russian fleet, arguing in September that to do so would render his company “explicitly complicit in a major act of war and conflict escalation.”

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