PM clarifies: No plans for widespread social media ban beyond TikTok

KATHMANDU: Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal affirms commitment to freedom of expression, dispels rumors of broad social media ban

In a meeting with editors at the Prime Minister and Council of Ministers office on Monday, Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal clarified his stance, emphasizing that he harbors no intention of impinging upon citizens’ freedom of thought and expression through a blanket ban on social media.

Addressing concerns arising from the recent TikTok ban, Dahal stated definitively that there are no imminent plans to extend restrictions to other social networks. “Let’s not view the TikTok ban as a precursor to further restrictions on other platforms,” he remarked. “There is no intent to curtail people’s rights. The government cannot even contemplate such measures.”

Dahal sought to dispel any notion that the TikTok ban was arbitrary, pointing to concerns raised by opposition party leaders during an all-party meeting. These concerns focused on the potential negative repercussions of the ban, including family discord, disputes, and mental health issues.

Highlighting a personal observation, Dahal shared, “In my own household, I’ve noticed my grandchildren spending a significant amount of time on TikTok.” While acknowledging the impact of the TikTok ban on citizens’ freedom of expression, he hinted at a forthcoming law currently in the drafting process that could address these concerns and potentially lead to the revocation of the ban.

Recent government discussions have centered around endorsing bills related to the communication sector, including regulations for the operation of social networks. Prime Minister Dahal suggested that the ban might be reconsidered in alignment with the upcoming legislation.

In a written response to a Supreme Court petition challenging the TikTok ban, Dahal asserted that TikTok had contributed to the spread of diseases and epidemics within Nepali society. The Ministry of Communication and Information Technology cited impractical regulation as the basis for the ban, emphasizing the negative impact on social harmony and the overall social environment.

As nearly a dozen writ petitions against the TikTok ban are concurrently heard in the Supreme Court on Tuesday, the Prime Minister’s statements shed light on the rationale behind the decision and the potential for its reassessment in the context of evolving legislative frameworks.

Fiscal Nepal |
Tuesday December 5, 2023, 10:52:09 AM |

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