Addressing the press at Bharatpur Airport today, Deputy Prime Minister and Home Minister, Narayan Kaji Shrestha, clarified that Nepal is not considering a blanket ban on social networks, despite the recent prohibition of TikTok.
Emphasizing the government’s commitment to regulating, not restricting, social media, Shrestha highlighted the platforms’ role in promoting democracy, social unity, and culture.
In a written clarification submitted to the Supreme Court, Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal defended the government’s decision to ban TikTok in Nepal, citing concerns about the spread of social diseases and threats to national security. The move comes in response to 16 writ petitions challenging the ban.
PM Dahal emphasized the rise of “technological pollution” within Nepali society, attributing it to the popular social network. He stated, “TikTok is observed to have both positive and negative uses, and technological pollution is spreading as a social disease and epidemic.” The Prime Minister argued that the ban is essential to protect the interests of the majority of citizens and the nation as a whole from the negative impacts of the platform.
Furthermore, the Prime Minister claimed that TikTok has eroded social behaviors and negatively impacted the physical, mental, and overall development of children. He asserted that the ban is necessary to address challenges to citizens’ privacy and national security.
Responding to claims that the ban infringes on the right to freedom of thought and expression guaranteed by the constitution, PM Dahal argued that it is not a hindrance to these rights when restricting activities that disturb communal harmony and morals.
The Supreme Court is set to hold a regular hearing on this case from December 5, where the 16 writ petitions will be reviewed. The government’s decision to shut down TikTok in Nepal on November 13, 2023, has stirred debates around freedom of expression and the regulation of social networks.