Government open to rethinking TikTok ban: Prime Minister DahalDahal says the ban was imposed after ‘intense pressure’ from his coalition partners and the opposition.
Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal has said that the ban on the popular social media platform TikTok was not final. Talking to a group of editors at Singhadurbar on Monday, Dahal said that he had reached the conclusion on the ban after intense pressure from his coalition partners, especially Nepali Congress President Sher Bahadur Deuba, and CPN-UML Chairman KP Sharma Oli.
“After hearing the public reaction to the ban, I am now open to the idea of regulating TikTok, just like we are thinking of regulating other social media platforms,” he said. “What we can do is regulate the platform via the directives on the operation of social networking-2023 that the government is in the process of finalising.”
On November 13, the government decided to ban the social media app, claiming that it has had negative effects on social harmony.
The decision came within days after the government introduced the ‘Directives on the Operation of Social Networking 2023’.
Although freedom of expression is a basic right, a large section of society has criticised TikTok for encouraging hate speech, the government said.
The ban has continued to divide public opinion. Some have seen the ban as the government’s attempt to stifle free speech, while others question the government’s ability to regulate the platform or put a blanket ban on it.
As many as 30 organisations working for freedom of speech and expression issued a joint statement immediately after the ban, saying that the government decision violates Article 17 (2 a) and Article 19 of the constitution and goes against the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, among other laws.
Free speech advocates and even leaders of ruling parties have said the platform should be better regulated rather than banned outright.
Meanwhile, journalists took it to TikTok itself to oppose the ban.
The ban, however, has fallen flat among a large section of tech-savvy youths, who continue to browse through the app using VPN services or with a simple adjustment to their cellphone’s DNS settings.