'Access to TikTok should be blocked to maintain social harmony'

Published On: November 14, 2023 10:00 AM NPT By: RSS

KATHMANDU, Nov 14: The government has decided to ban 'TikTok', a social media app, in the country, drawing the conclusion that it is causing deterioration in social harmony.

The government took the decision in this regard at a time when voices were being raised that the government should make necessary arrangements immediately to control activities increasing to disrupt social, religious and communal relations from TikTok in recent periods.

Spokesperson for the government and Minister for Communications and Information Technology, Rekha Sharma, said that the Cabinet meeting on Monday took the decision to this effect. "The decision to ban TikTok was taken today itself. The Communications Ministry and Nepal Telecom Authority have already started preparations for the same. Probably it will be banned from today itself."

Leaders of different political parties and stakeholders have mixed reactions to the government's decision to ban TikTok.

Nepali Congress central committee member, Min Bahadur Bishwokarma, commented that the government's decision to shut TikTok was welcomed as some activities and content uploaded in TikTok disrupt social harmony and lead the society towards a negative path.

He mentioned, "The government's decision was welcomed and it should be fully implemented. The decision was indispensable for individuals, society and country. It has been closed for the time being. But, it can be resumed on the basis of its need and effectiveness."

Similarly, welcoming the government decision to ban TikTok, CPN (Maoist Centre)'s General Secretary, Dev Prasad Gurung, insists on its full implementation. " TikTok is being misused to spread undesirable activities in the society and the government took the decision to ban bearing in mind its flip sides is timely."

The government claimed that of late this social media platform was being wrongly used to spread contents capable of jeopardizing social harmony, and the spread of propaganda was causing negative effects in an individual, community and the entire system.  It has been said this social media app has been misused and such misuse has been a contributing factor to family disputes and split, divorce, social disorder and violations of individual's rights.

However, CPN-UML's parliamentary party's whip Mahesh Bartaula advised the government to take a regulatory approach rather than an outright ban on the app. "TikTok has been misused, too. It has caused issues in family, society and the nation. But this should not be banned, it should be regulated by a law, instead."

UML's another leader Mahesh Basnet on the social site endorsed the government decision to restrict the use of the app in Nepal, advising the government to regulate other social sites and YouTube channels as well.

Rastriya Swatantra Party's Vice President Dol Prasad Aryal is of the view of regulating the use of TiTok instead of putting a ban on it. 

Nepali Congress general secretary Gagan Kumar Thapa has said although it is necessary to regulate the social networking sites to discourage their misuse, they should not be banned in the name of regulating them.

Tiktok, if used positively, is a suitable medium for connecting political parties and activists with people. However, there is an increasing need of effective monitoring of the TikTok given the growing cases of violation of personal freedom by misuse of technology and contents tending to encourage criminal activities in the society.

Janamat Party's central Spokesperson Dr Sharat Singh Yadav viewed that vulgarity was burgeoning TikTok in the name of freedom of expression lately. Since there were attacks on personal freedom, Singh called for being aware about it.

He said, "Some individuals and groups infringing personal freedom through TikTok and YouTube in the name of freedom of expression led to the ban of TikTok. We are not against the ban at all but the government should also effectively monitor TikTok and ban the wrong contents and encourage the right ones."

Similarly, Nepal Telecom Authority's Chairperson Purusottam Khanal shared that WorldLink among others internet service providers had already closed TikTok while letters were sent to the remaining companies too and TikTok will be closed soon.

Social activist Bindu Pariyar opined that the government ought to keep eye on the social networking sites by putting legislation accordingly rather than banning them.

CPN (Unified Socialist)’s Socialist Press Organization, issuing a press statement, said, "There is a need for a law to regulate the social networking sites that are also connected with citizen journalism. The laws defining the directives to run social networking sites, to determine the criteria for their operation in Nepal are needed."

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