‘Govt can lift TikTok ban if it complies with Nepali law’

Published On: June 14, 2024 01:25 PM NPT By: Republica  | @RepublicaNepal

KATHMANDU, June 13:  The popular social media platform TikTok has been banned in Nepal for the past seven months.

A cabinet meeting held on November 13 last year decided to ban the TikTok, sparking controversy and widespread criticisms across the country. However, the government has not yet revoked the decision.

Meanwhile, in the meeting of the Committee of Development, Economic Affairs and Good Governance under the  National Assembly on Thursday, members of parliament (MPs) also raised questions to Rekha Sharma, Minister for Communication and Information Technology, regarding the ban on TikTok.

In response, Communication Minister Sharma, who is also the government's spokesperson, stated that there would be no objection to operating TikTok or any other social media platform if they comply with the Nepali laws and are acceptable to society.

Minister Sharma stated that the government had to ban TikTok because it was producing and broadcasting content that promoted unethical activities in society.

Sharma said, “We have banned TikTok as per a decision of the Council of Ministers. According to the law, the ban was imposed because TikTok was inappropriate for our social norms and values. That is why we imposed the ban.”

Even though the government has banned it, TikTok is still accessed via small Internet Service Providers (ISPs) and VPNs. However, TikTok is not accessible through Nepal Telecom and other large network service providers.

Minister Sharma stated that the government, being a law-abiding entity, did not ban TikTok out of bias or prejudice. She explained that as Nepali families and society are rooted in Eastern philosophy, social media should be used in a way that aligns with the social norms.

"A bill regarding social media has been sent to the Cabinet. In the upcoming meeting of the Council of Ministers, the social media bill will be discussed. The bill will then go to the committee, and by the time it reaches the parliamentary committee, we will have had extensive discussions," she said.

In the same context, Minister Sharma stated that the government is creating laws to pave the way for the healthy use of social media. She said, "There were no laws regarding this subject in Nepal. We issued the Directive 2080 BS on Regulating the use of Social Networks. Now, we are in the process of registering the social media bill in parliament."

Minister Sharma said that the government does not have any objection to social media platforms like TikTok if they are acceptable to Nepali society and do not violate Nepali laws. "We don't have any issues with TikTok itself. It operated without self-regulation; We thought that it needed to be  self-regulated," she said.

Minister Sharma also mentioned the government's meeting with Facebook officials and underscored adherence to Nepal's rules and regulations. She stated, "Platforms must be registered here. Currently, no social media platform is registered. They must register and operate appropriately. We are working to ensure compliance with the legal framework."


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