Saturday, May 25, 2013

Live video call from Everest summit causes controversy

KATHMANDU, May 20: "It´s a very proud moment to be here. It´s been two-and-a-half-years in the making," said a British explorer Daniel Thomas Hughes in the first ever video call from the top of the Mount Everest, Sunday morning.

The video call made via smartphone from the highest peak in the world was aired live by BBC World. As per the request made by the TV anchor, Hughes had briefly panned around his smartphone from the top of the Everest, showing BBC audience across the globe a spectacular view of the snow-clad mountains.

In the video call that lasted 2 minutes and 45 seconds, Hughes said, "This is the world´s highest live video, never had been this before."
Taking a pause to breathe in enough oxygen, he added, "It´s windy here. They are Sherpas aroud me. I can see big holes around here. This is the highest peak I had ever been to."

Hughes scaled Mt Everest in an attempt to raise £1 million to Comic Relief, a major charity based in the UK which strives to create a just world free from poverty. The charity aims at driving positive change through the power of entertainment.

The Comic Relief together with its sister project Sports Relief alternatively host Red Nose Day telethon biennially to raise fund for charity in the UK.
May is the most popular month for Everest climbs because of more favorable weather. Hughes along with 140 other climbers made it to the top of the Mount Everest a day after 64 climbers, including a Saudi Arabian woman, successfully scaled the 8,848 meter high peak.

When Hughes reached to the top he put on his red nose, a symbol of charity in UK, and made the first ever live video phone call from the summit. During the final part of the climb he had to walk uphill for 12 hours straight.

Hughes, 33, made it to the top of the Mount Everest as a member of member of the Jagged Globe Everest Expedition 2013. A local company named Summit Nepal Trekking Private Limited had coordinated the expedition team that included Hughes.

Meanwhile, government officials in Kathmandu said Jagged Globe Everest Expedition 2013, which took Hughes to the top of the Mount Everest, is found to have not taken due government permission to film Mount Everest. "It is found that the company concerned is found to have taken permission only for taking walkie-talkie for communication," said a senior official at the Ministry of Information and Communications (MoIC), which issues permits for filming and taking other means of communications.

Officials said the permission of the MoIC is a must for filming or making any audio visual materials for public broadcasts. While it cost $10,000 for acquiring permit for filming or producing audio/visual materials, any climber, who wishes to take satellite phone with him/her has to pay Rs 120,000 to acquire government permission for each of its terminal.

Chief of Tourism Industry Division under the Ministry of Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation (MoCTCA) Purna Chandra Bhattarai said the live video call from the top of Mt Everest without due permission from the government agencies concerned has drawn their serious attention. "We will inquire with its local agency first about the incident and recommend to the concerned authorities for necessary action after further investigation," said Bhattarai.

As per the existing government legislation, both the Ministry of Information and Communications and Sagarmatha National Park are authorized to take legal action against any climber taking such equipment to the mountain without prior approval. "The successful ascent of Hughes to Mount Everest summit may itself be questionable as he is found to be engaged in the activities other than those permitted to him," said another senior official at MoIC.

No comments: