Gokul Baskota resigned as the Minister for Communication and Information Technology following the leak of an audio clip wherein he is heard to be bargaining for commission in the process of establishing the security printing press.
If not for anything else, Baskota during his stint as Communication Minister was known for making outrageous remarks towards the general public as well as the media.
Even Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli, on several occasions, had bragged that the critics of his government would shut their mouths once they faced Baskota since the latter fiercely defended every controversial bill the government has tabled or passed—from the Media Council Bill, Guthi Bill to Special Services Bill.
Baskota, not unlike Oli, used to regularly trend on social media platforms for his arrogant outbursts. Baskota along with Oli have persistently slammed the public as well as the media for not seeing the good works executed by the incumbent government.
- On August 28, Baskota created a stir on social media after he said how people should observe Constitution Day holiday, and not “waste it by partying, going on a picnic, or hanging out with your girlfriend or boyfriend.”
- In April, 2019, Baskota accused the majority of media of giving least priority to development works taking place in the country. He also accused the media of wasting its energy in criticising the government.
- While residents of Kathmandu took to the streets to protect their heritage and protested against the proposed Guthi Bill, Baskota defended the bill and referred to guthis as “lingering remnants of feudalism” during his weekly press conference. Later, he denied having ever made such a statement in Parliament.
- During an interview with Ratopati in November 2018, Baskota was asked why the Cabinet was delaying information on its decisions. His response: “There is no constitutional provision that says journalists need to know everything.”
- At the parliamentary committee meeting in October, 2018, Baskota said he would give money to those reporters who have written “unnecessary things” about him. “All the reporters who have written baseless news about me and blamed me of corruption, I will give you as much money as you want,” he said.
- Defending the IT Bill in June, 2019 Baskota told the Development and Technology Committee of the House of Representatives that restrictive provisions in the Information Technology Bill were for deterring people who post defamatory comments on social media platforms and that the bill did not pose a threat to mainstream media.
- In July, 2019, after controversy swelled over the government’s plans to host the annual Bollywood Film awards by spending millions of rupees, Baskota said the government would not be spending a single paisa from the state coffers. But when Nepal’s agreement with the company organising the IIFA awards was made public, it showed how Nepal would have to bear the cost for all of the guests’ travel expenses, accommodation and venue charges, in addition to Rs500 million in direct payment. The plan was finally cancelled.
- In December 2018, Baskota touted the administration’s efforts and said, “I am working to ban 300,000 more porn sites to make citizens civilised and cultured.”