KATHMANDU, March 23: The Nepal Working Group for Internet Freedom, which is a common platform of civil society organizations advocating the freedom and access to the Internet, has drawn serious attention to the National Broadcasting (11th Amendment) Regulation, 2021 brought by the government recently. The general public as well as internet users have become suspicious of this regulation as the government did not discuss with the authorities and stakeholders concerned about the regulation.
According to Nepal Working Group for Internet Freedom, the definition of online television and over-the-top (OTT) in the Nepal Gazette, which has been published with immediate effect, is a kind of stifling of the freedom of expression that the general public may have through online media. In the regulation, the definition of online TV is 'the act of producing and regularly broadcasting audio-visual programs through the Internet', the medium and scope of which is not clear. It needs to be clear whether it is bound to block all social networks or its scope, the Working Group said.
Stating that the government took advantage of the opportunity to complain about the content and presentation of some YouTube channels, the working group alleged that with the amendment to the rules, the government has tried to violate human rights affecting all Internet users.
Likewise, the Working Group urged the government to find the solution to the implementation of the National Broadcasting Regulation 2021, which is against the essence of freedom of expression and is impractical in nature, through wide-ranging discussions and consultations with the concerned parties and stakeholders.