BBC reporting curbed by Chinese torch clampdown

The decision to force a BBC team to leave Everest base camp when they attempted to report on the Olympic torch parade up the mountain was ‘part of massive Chinese pressure on Nepal’a BBC journalist has claimed.

Charles Haviland, BBC Nepal Correspondent, told Press Gazette that he and his team had reached the Nepal basecamp hoping to do stories about how the torch controversy had affected Nepal.

Haviland had spoken to the army’s media personnel ahead of the trip and had contacted the head of a large Nepalese trekking agency who had said he might be able to help the BBC get around the base camp ban on video cameras and satellite phones.

Haviland said: ‘When we got to base camp last Monday morning, however, things turned out to be much stricter than we had imagined. We were met on the way in by a friendly plainclothes police officer, who said we were expected. We were then introduced to an official, the deputy secretary of the tourism ministry Prabodh Dhakal who said we must leave immediately after having some lunch.”

Haviland added that what happened was ‘clearly’part of the Chinese government’s pressure on Nepal. ‘However the Chinese are knocking at an open door, the Nepalese government is in general falling over itself to accommodate Beijing’s every Whim,’he said.

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