In his 1992 book How the World Was One, Sir Arthur C Clarke described a dream: one day in the near future, CNN founder (and then owner) Ted Turner is offered the post of World President, but he politely turns it down – because he didn’t want to give up power!
Just three years later, the then Secretary General of the UN suggested that CNN should be the 16th member of the Security Council. Sir Arthur was fond of quoting this, and once famously told Turner: “You owe me 10 per cent of your income”.
“With the death of Sir Arthur C Clarke, TVE Asia Pacific has lost a long-standing friend and supporter,” the tribute says.
It adds: “Since our establishment in 1996, Television for Education Asia Pacific – to use our full name – has been engaged in pursuing Sir Arthur’s vision of using the potential of moving images to inform and educate the public. Our founders chose to focus on covering development and social issues, with emphasis on the Asia Pacific region – home to half of humanity and where Sir Arthur spent the last half century of his life.”
Although he never held a formal position at TVEAP, Sir Arthur was an informal adviser and mentor to the regional media organisation whose work across Asia Pacific is only possible thanks to the comsat that invented and the web that he inspired.
By the time TVEAP was created in the mid 1990s, the satellite TV revolution was well underway in the Asia Pacific region, and the internet revolution was just taking off. In informal discussions, Sir Arthur advised us to always keep our eyes open on what’s coming up. In the ICT sector, he cautioned, being too closely wedded to one technology or system could lead to rapid obsolescence.
We also talk about Sir Arthur’s concerns about using information and communication technologies (ICTs) to benefit the poor and other disadvantaged groups – a process that he aptly described as ‘geek to meek’.
We end by recalling how TVEAP recorded and uploaded to YouTube Sir Arthur’s last public video address – his 90th birthday reflections in December 2007.