Tuesday, April 29, 2008

BBC: News Blackout at Everest Base Camp

From BBC News, Monday April 28:

By Charles Haviland
BBC News, Gorak Shep, near Everest base camp, Nepal

Just a short while after arriving in Everest base camp on Monday, we were politely but firmly told to leave by an official from Nepal's Ministry of Tourism.

The move came as China prepares to take the Olympic torch up its northern side of the world's highest peak.

The Nepalese authorities have imposed a complete communications ban from the base camp upwards and closed territory on Everest above 6,500 metres until the torch has been and gone from the top.

We knew there were restrictions on satellite phones and video cameras but were now told that even pre-recorded radio material on non-political subjects would not be allowed.

Nor would informal chats with the hundreds of mountaineers currently in the camp, the tourism ministry official, Prabodh Dhakal, said. If any mountaineer talked to the BBC, he or she would be expelled, he added.
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