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Home > News > Report

Unplugged: CNN founder Ted Turner

Onkar Singh in New Delhi | December 17, 2005 14:04 IST

CNN founder Ted Turner denied on Friday that he was planning to run for any office, including that of the President of the United States of America.

"What post can I run for?" he asked.

Maybe the President of USA?

"Nope," the 67-year-old media tycoon shot back.

Turner, who met Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and United Progressive Alliance chairperson Sonia Gandhi, was asked who between the two ran the show in India.

"Democracy is not run by just one individual. It is run by a group of people," said the man who once headed one of the most powerful television organisations in the world.

He revealed that he had sought an appointment with US President George Bush to talk to him about a nuclear free world and that he was still waiting for a call from the White House.

"If all those nuclear weapons go off one afternoon because some madman pressed the button, the devastation it would unleash will kill more men in one go than all the wars ever fought in the world put together."

"Why do we want to have nuclear weapons? India and Pakistan have nuclear warheads pointed at each other, and the safest place is Bangladesh."

"I am glad that India and Pakistan are getting closer. With nuclear arms, the two nations better be friends then enemies," he said.

He lamented the growing poverty in the world and said that the only way we could restore the balance is to have a two- child norm.

"India, Pakistan and Bangladesh are full of people. If you want to take a turn you have to see that you are not hitting someone," he said with a smile.

Turner has set aside $1 billion to fight poverty and this money is being spent in schemes sponsored by the United Nations.

"I felt ashamed that the US was not paying its dues to the UN and it became difficult to run the organisation. I wanted to pay $1 billion on behalf of the US but I was told these matters are handled at a government-to-government level. So I decided to pledge money to UN-sponsored schemes," he said.

Time and again, he also mentioned how he was elbowed out of CNN.

"When I look back, I feel I should not have given up control of CNN. Most of the time is spent chasing frivolous stories. The competition is growing stiffer. There is no room for another television organisation because when I set up CNN, there were not many organisations producing news. Now there are plenty," he said.

On the Indian media scene, Turner said, "In India, the number of news organisations and television networks is very high. But since I have not been able to read much of what is printed in Indian newspapers or see what is shown on the television networks, I am not in a position to talk about their credibility."





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