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"Magic mountain" relays messages to leaders in Davos

Messages are being beamed by laser on to a mountain side overlooking Davos

(swissinfo.ch)

The World Economic Forum summit in Davos has often been dismissed as a rich men's club. But this year, swissinfo is giving the public a chance to tell political and business leaders what they are doing wrong - or right.

Starting on Thursday, when the summit kicks off, anyone with Internet access or a mobile phone can send messages to the delegates assembled in Davos through swissinfo's "Hello Mr President" project.

And there is little chance that their comments will be ignored because they will be projected in giant letters on to the slopes of the Bolgen mountain overlooking the resort of Davos.

A webcam will transmit an image of the projected message back on to the Internet.

Political and business leaders who choose to respond will be able to do so instantly using their mobile phones.

The director of Swiss Radio International/swissinfo, Nicolas Lombard, said the aim was to permit a "frank exchange of views between concerned citizens from all over the world and decision-makers sometimes regarded as distant or difficult to approach".

He added that the "Hello Mr President" project complemented well the agenda of this year's Davos summit.

"Topping the agenda is the debate over ways to close the digital divide between the developed and developing world," he said. It is appropriate that swissinfo will be using the Internet and laser technology of 'Hello Mr President' to throw the debate open to a much wider international audience than would otherwise be possible."

The project, financed by swissinfo, is politically independent, and the public is free to say or ask whatever they please in English, German, French, Italian and Spanish.

Messages will be screened by swissinfo's editorial team to sift out any containing racist or pornographic remarks, personal insults or advertising.

Messages of up to a maximum of 160 characters can be sent everyday between 1700 and 2200 throughout the WEF summit, which runs from January 25 to 29. The number to dial is +41 (0) 78 640 6000. Alternatively, messages can be posted on swissinfo's "Hello Mr President" website (address below).

Mobile phone (SMS) messages are transmitted via a gateway to an Internet server, where they are screened. They are then forwarded via the Internet to a laptop in Davos with an input to a laser control computer.

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