Nepal TikTok…Several writ petitions have been lodged in Nepal’s Supreme Court contesting the Council of Ministers’ decision to prohibit the Chinese video-sharing platform ‘TikTok’. A preliminary hearing for these petitions has been slated for November 20.
The petitioners, among whom are senior advocates, have approached the Supreme Court, arguing that the ban on TikTok violates citizens’ freedom of thought and expression. Bhadrakali Pokharel, the Supreme Court spokesperson, confirmed the submission of six writ petitions, which have been duly registered.
Senior advocate Dinesh Tripathi, advocate Swagat Nepal, and others have individually filed writ petitions against the TikTok ban, urging the annulment of the government’s decision. Their argument emphasizes the breach of citizens’ rights, the sudden imposition of the ban without legal grounds during the process of regulation enactment, and the absence of a legal basis for the decision.
They have also urged the issuance of an interim order in response to their petitions. The Cabinet meeting on November 13 declared the ban on the social media app TikTok, citing disruptions in familial relationships and social harmony as reasons for the prohibition.
Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal clarified earlier this week that the ban was imposed after extensive discussions and agreement between ruling and opposition parties. He stressed that the decision aligned with practices adopted by established democratic and developed countries, aiming to address social issues and maintain order.
Additionally, the banned Chinese video platform has expressed concerns to the Nepal Telecommunication Authority (NTA) through Ferdous Mottakin, TikTok’s head of public policy and government relations for South Asia. In a communication dated November 13, Mottakin highlighted apprehensions and mentioned recent meetings and understandings with Nepali officials.
The email to NTA underscored the surprising nature of the ban and its potential adverse impacts on investment plans, Nepali content creators, businesses relying on TikTok for marketing, and the economy at large. TikTok emphasized its commitment to user safety, highlighting its measures to enforce community guidelines and its recent registration as a digital service taxpayer in Nepal in August 2023.