On November 13, 2023, the Nepal government and Minister of Communication and Information Ministry Rekha Sharma has announced a ban on the use of the Chinese social media app TikTok citing its negative effects on social harmony, a media agency reported. The decision was taken in a cabinet meeting. The decision to ban the app will be executed after a setting a specific deadline.
Reason behind the Ban
A large section of Nepalese society has slammed the TikTok and accused it of encouraging the tendency of promoting hate speeches. In the past four years at least 1647 cases of cybercrime have been reported on the app. A discussion was held between Nepal Cyber Bureau, the home ministry and the representatives of the Chinese apps had taken place last week. The decisions to ban the platforms will be enforced after the completion of technical preparations.
The General Secretary of the Nepalese Congress Gagan Thapa, called the government’s decision to ban the TikTok a wrong one and added that the government should regulate the platform instead of banning it. “The government decision should be rectified as it violates the freedom of speech and expression and individual freedom,” Thapa said on social media platform X (formerly Twitter).
New Rules for Social Media
The Nepalese government has introduced the Directive of the Operation of Social Networking 2023. Under this new rule, the social media platforms operating in Nepal will have to set up their offices in the country. On November 9, 2023, the country made it mandatory for social media sites such as Facebook, TikTok and YouTube among others to open their liaison offices in Nepal.
The companies will have to either establish their office or appoint a focal person in Nepal within three months of the enforcement of the directives. They have also been mandated to register their social media plat forms with the Ministry of Communications and Information Technology, or face a shutdown. The Directives include a 19 point not to do list for users of platforms like Facebook, X, TikTok, YouTube and Instagram.
Similarities with other nations
In June 2020, the Indian Government in India had banned the TikTok along with several other Chinese apps over national security concerns, mostly in wake of the Galwan Border Clash between the Indian and Chinese forces. Prior to the ban of the app, it had more than 150 million active users in India.
Other nations such as the United States of America (USA), the United Kingdom, Australia and the European Union have also banned the TikTok citing security reasons. Afghanistan, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Netherlands, Norway, and New Zealand have also followed the suit and placed partial or complete bans respectively on the video sharing app.