The Nepalese government made headlines recently with its decision to prohibit the popular video app TikTok. Citing concerns about “social harmony” and family values, authorities directed internet providers to block access to the Chinese-owned platform.

According to Communications Minister Rekha Sharma, colleagues determined a ban was necessary due to recurring “problematic” content on TikTok that disrupts communities. Over 1,600 reported cybercrimes involving the app in recent years also contributed to the move.

While the specific trigger remains unclear, regulating social media has emerged as a priority. Just days prior, Nepal unveiled a requirement for all online platforms to establish a local office.

The abrupt nature of the blockade sparked critique from opposition figures. Former diplomat Pradeep Gyawali argued for targeted moderation instead of sweeping restrictions, noting other apps contain undesirable material too. Nepali Congress leader Gagan Thapa accused the government of aiming to curb free expression under the guise of regulation.

International precedents exist for both banning and tightening oversight of TikTok. India pulled the app in 2020 over security and data privacy fears, while authorities in Pakistan and elsewhere have intermittently blocked it for purportedly “immoral” videos.

As the sixth most-used platform globally, TikTok is a juggernaut among younger demographics but also a lightning rod for governance debates. While some defend national sovereignty concerns, others view bans as disproportionate or lacking clear evidence of severe societal harms.

Nepal’s prohibition adds new fuel to discussions around balancing individual rights, community standards, and the responsibilities of tech giants on the global stage. With online activities only intensifying, resolving such tensions will likely remain a work in progress.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *