Dry spell

Oct 5, 2018- On September 21, the Ministry of Communication and Information Technology announced through a press release that it was going to institute a blanket ban on online pornography. Declaring that pornography is against the values and morals of Nepali society and arguing that such “obscene” material contributes to sexual violence and malpractices, the ministry, citing Article 121 of the Criminal Code, directed internet service providers to block all pornographic websites. There are numerous…

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Towards a digital Nepal

Nepal has embarked on an economic revolution to bring progress and prosperity after a successful transformation into a federal republic. Therefore, there is a great need for information communication and technology (ICT). ICT plays a significant role in education, health, tourism, employment, finance, agriculture and environmental conservation and promotion. The federal government and the private sector are yet to institutionalise and harness the tremendous benefits including competitive advantage of digital technology in terms of sustainable…

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Is porn to be blamed?

For the past few weeks, the rise in the number of sexual crimes in Nepal has been drawing international attention, prompting massive protests and shocking millions. Data shows that for the past seven years, 6,627 rape cases were reported in Nepal, out of which  4,589 were rape cases and 2,038 were rape attempts. Estimates show that every year 946 rape cases are reported in Nepal, out of which 78 occur every a month. Day after…

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Does porn abet rape?

The Ministry of Communication and Information Technology (MoCIT) last week directed the Nepal Telecommunication Authority (NTA) to block access to all pornographic contents on the internet and requested internet service providers and internet users to ensure that pornography is not accessed. The MoCIT said that the pornographic contents disturbed social norms and values and increased sexual misconduct and violence in the country. The direction was probably the result of a conclusion of a meeting at…

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Democracy dies when press is not free

The world, it seems, is becoming hostile toward journalists and the free press. In the United States, President Donald Trump persecutes media by dismissing them as “fake news” outlets. In Bangladesh, journalists are often attacked and even murdered by extremist groups for reporting the truth, while the government has failed to provide them security. They are beaten and attacked even for covering local elections. Journalists are often targeted in Pakistan as well. In neighboring India,…

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Rise of digital dystopia

A government official returns home and starts browsing Facebook with the objective of making full use of the internet connection he acquired to stay in touch with his family abroad and make cheaper calls. He has switched completely from TV to Facebook for news and entertainment. He scrolls his wall flooded with chaotic contents—memes, trolls, crazy baby pictures, health tips, manipulated photos of idols and all kinds of visual contents manufactured every minute and personalised…

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Uphold press freedom

Some lawmakers from the ruling and opposition benches have registered amendments on a number of clauses of the Right to Privacy Bill tabled in Parliament. The Bill has drawn flaks from various walks of life, including the Federation of Nepali Journalists, the main opposition Nepali Congress and the intelligentsia. The Bill has inserted restrictive measures against mediapersons and the media outlets from making public information detrimental to public post holders. The Nepal Law Commission proposed…

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‘Criminal Code and right to privacy bill curtail press and media freedom’

Minendra Rijal, central working committee member of the Nepali Congress and a former minister, has criticised Nepal Communist Party (NCP) government’s key policies including its stance on the new Criminal Code saying it has curtailed press and media freedom. Jagdishor Panday of The Himalayan Times caught up with Rijal to know his views on the various actions and policies of the government.  Excerpts: Former Minister of Information and Communications and central working committee member of…

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Why privacy bill should be amended

Individual privacy is a constitutional right. Nepal has constitutionally ensured our right to privacy since 1990. But separate act had not been endorsed by the parliament then. As a result, the last 28 years witnessed several cases of violation of right to privacy. There was no demarcation between individual and public domain. Successive governments used to hide information that was under public domain by citing privacy issue. Constitution of 2015 has granted the citizens an…

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Muzzling the media: Threat to democracy

When this new government was formed in February, there were high hopes that the country would now embark on the journey of peace and stability. Meanwhile, there were also scepticisms that democratic space could shrink under the new step-up — a strong government with a nearly two-thirds majority and a weak opposition. A series of decisions taken by the government, some on already promulgated legislations and provisions of the draft bill, clearly indicate that the…

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