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Report on new it bill cirminalization of foe in social media by shreedeep rayamajhi

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Report on new it bill cirminalization of fo e in social media by shreedeep rayamajhi

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Report on new it bill cirminalization of foe in social media by shreedeep rayamajhi

  1. 1. Executive Summary The Nepal Government is all set to bring out the new Information Technology (IT) Bill which has been forwarded to the parliament for further discussion and endorsement. In view of the policy and regulation, the Nepal government has forwarded regulation of criminalization of Freedom of Expression (FoE) in Social Media. According to the new bill Social Media Networking has been specifically addressed with specific section and regulation. In this regards all social networking sites must be registered with in the specified Nepal Government Department. If they fail to cooperate in terms of the objectionable contents from removable, they would be entitled to fine up to Rs 30,000 and jail term up to three years or both. With the new IT Bill the criminalization of FoE in social media is seen as a major threat against fundamental right of FoE and Freedom of Speech. 1 Section 94 (1) (b) No one should write anything to promote caste discrimination or untouchability, disrespect labor, incite anybody to commit crime, promote acts undermining peace and security, publish or propagate illegal things or act or incite others to act against public decency and morality. A national daily reported, “The controversial Information Technology management bill tabled at the parliament earlier this week has raised several concerns about what this means for social media users and freedom of speech online. But the comprehensive nature of the proposed bill which lumps together every cross-cutting sector that relates to information technology could push sweeping changes on everything from social media use to surveillance, e-commerce, and tech innovation.”2 The Nepal Government has proposed a fine up to Rs 1.5 million and a jail term of five years or both for posting or propagating objectionable contents on social networking sites in the new Information Technology Bill. The IT bill has been in hot debate from last year with its controversial sections of protecting civil rights and restriction that is being imposed by the government. Civil society organizations have been struggling to find a more transparent and open mid solution to the bill giving space of safeguarding people’s right and interest. Section 94 (1) (c) No one should write anything to tease, confuse, undermine, discourage, reprimand anybody or to create hatred and enmity or mislead other persons. Section 94 (1) (d) No one should sell or advertise illegal things or demonstrate or publish such things. Section 94 (1) (e) No one should write anything with the motive of assassinating anybody’s character or defaming anybody. The bill has also introduced a provision whereby ‘unnecessary’ postings on social media sites will be penalized with fine or imprisonment, or both fine and imprisonment. As per a provision in the bill, unnecessary postings on social media sites with the intention to undermine the country’s sovereignty, 1 http://www.rayznews.com/criminalization-of-social-media-by-nepal-government-in-new-it-bill/ 2 https://kathmandupost.ekantipur.com/news/2019-02-22/everything-you-need-to-know-about-the- governments-new-it-bill.html
  2. 2. national security, national unity and other cultural and religious bonds will be penalized with up to Rs 1.5 million fine or up to five years of imprisonment or both depending on the nature of the offence.3 Internet Penetration Rate: The date Presented here are brought from International Telecommunication Union (ITU) Statistics Country ICT Data Percentage of Individuals using the Internet 4 Social Media Status: Source: Global Stats5 3 https://thehimalayantimes.com/business/government-set-to-control-social-media-operation/ 4 https://www.itu.int/en/ITU-D/Statistics/Pages/stat/default.aspx 5 http://gs.statcounter.com/social-media-stats/all/nepal year 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 Nepal 1.73 1.97 7.93 9.00 11.15 13.3 15.44 17.58 19.69 21.4
  3. 3. Source: Global Stats6 Source: Global Stats7 Social Media Poll: Methodology of Survey: The Social media survey was set up using the Facebook application of poll where a question was asked with just two option. For other clarification and queries, comment section was open for discussion. Around 71 participants answer the question. The poll was witness for 7 days. 7 http://gs.statcounter.com/social-media-stats/all/nepal
  4. 4. Constitution of Nepal Article 17 Right to Freedom: (1) Except as provided for by law no person shall be deprived of her/his personal liberty. (2) Every citizen shall have the following freedoms: (a) freedom of opinion and expression, (b) freedom to assemble peacefully and without arms, (c) freedom to form political party, (d) freedom to form unions and associations, (e) freedom to move and reside in any part of Nepal; and (f) freedom to engage in any occupation or be engaged in employment, establish and operate industry, trade and business in any part of Nepal Provided that, (1) Nothing in sub-clause (a) shall be deemed to prevent the making of an Act to impose reasonable restrictions on any act which may undermine the nationality, sovereignty, independence and indivisibility of Nepal, or federal units, or jeopardizes the harmonious relations subsisting among the people of various caste, ethnicity, religion, or communities, or incites racial discrimination, or untouchability, or disrespects labour, or any act of defamation, or contempt of court, or an incitement of offence, or is contrary to decent public behavior or morality. (2) Nothing in sub-clause (b) shall be deemed to prevent the making of an Act to impose reasonable restrictions on any act which may undermine the nationality, sovereignty, independence and indivisibility of Nepal, or jeopardize the harmonious relations between federal units, or public law and order situation. (3) Nothing in sub-clause (c) shall be deemed to prevent the making of an Act to impose reasonable restrictions on any act which may undermine the nationality, sovereignty, indivisibility or Nepal, or an act of espionage against the nation, or disclosing national secrets, or helping foreign state or organization that may jeopardize Nepal‟ security, or an act of treason, or an act that undermines the harmonious relations subsisting between federal units, or instigates communal animosity, or jeopardizes the harmonious relations subsisting among different caste, ethnicity, religious groups or an act of acquiring or depriving the membership of a political party only on the grounds of caste, language, religion, community or gender, or the formation of a political party that creates discrimination against citizens, or an act that incites violence, or is contrary to decent public behavior . (4) Nothing in sub-clause (d) shall be deemed to prevent the making of an Act to impose reasonable restrictions on any act which may undermine the nationality, sovereignty, indivisibility or Nepal, or an act of espionage against the nation, or disclosing national secrets, or helping foreign state or organization that may jeopardize Nepal‟ security, or an act of treason, or an act that undermines the harmonious relations subsisting between federal units, or instigates communal animosity, or jeopardizes the harmonious relations subsisting among different caste groups, ethnicity, religious groups and communities, or an incitement of violence, or an act which is contrary to public morality.
  5. 5. (5) Nothing in sub-clause (e) shall be deemed to prevent the making of an Act to impose reasonable restrictions on any act which may undermine the interest of the general public, or the good relations between federal units, or the harmonious relations subsisting among various caste groups, ethnicity, religious groups or communities, or an act of committing crime or violence, or inciting such acts. (6) Nothing in sub-clause (f) shall be deemed to prevent the making of an Act to impose reasonable restrictions on any act which may undermine the good relations between federal units, or restricting an act which may have negative impact on public health, decent behavior and morality, or the particular industries, trade, business or services which only the state may engage in, or setting conditions or eligibility to engage in industries, trade, business, livelihoods or occupation. Electronic Transaction Act 2008 Section 47 (1) of the Act is most controversial legal provision that curbs FoE online. This Section states “If any person publishes or displays any material in the electronic media including computer, internet which are prohibited to publish or display by the prevailing law or which may be contrary to the public morality or decent behavior or any types of materials which may spread hate or jealousy against anyone or which may jeopardize the harmonious relations subsisting among the peoples of various castes, tribes and communities shall be liable to the punishment with the fine not exceeding One Hundred Thousand Rupees or with the imprisonment not exceeding five years or with both.” -The one and only prevailing law that prohibits any obscene material is Sec. 2 (c, c1) of the Some Public (Crime and Punishment) Act, 1970 which states: -No person shall commit any of the following acts: -To break public peace or to make obscene show by using obscene speech, word or gesture in public place. To print or publish any obscene materials by using obscene language or by any word or picture which denotes obscene meaning; or to exhibit or sell or distribute such obscene publication in public place other than the purpose of public health or health science;
  6. 6. Case Study of Criminalization of FoE in Social Media: Date: January 2019 With the controversial satirical song “Lutna Sake Lut” against corruption and misappropriation, singer Pashupati Sharma has been pressured by the ruling top political leaders and the youth wing of the Nepal Communist Party (NCP) to take down the video from his official channel. And as a result of the intimidation the singer has taken down the song from his official channel. The singer had released the song on Saturday where the song trended the social networking site with high numbers. Though there has been a silent reaction from the government but indirectly the political leaders pressured the singer to take down the song. 8 Date: December 2018 A leader of Nepal Tarun Dal, the youth wing of Nepali Congress (NC), has been arrested for writing “defamatory post” against Nepal Communist Party Co-chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal on Facebook. Former central member of Tarun Dal and tourism entrepreneur, Subod Pradhan, has been arrested for allegedly posting “offensive remark” against Dahal. According to Tarun Dal Chitwan President Ram Shrestha, Pradhan was arrested Sunday morning and has been detained at District Police Office, Bharatpur, for interrogation.9 Date: August 2018 A man in Nepal was arrested for sharing a doctored image on Facebook showing Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli's head superimposed on a monkey's body, police said Wednesday. Homnath Sigdel, 44, was taken into custody on Tuesday for "sharing indecent photos that targeted the prime minister", senior police officer Narendra Prasad Uprety told AFP. The offending image appeared on a Facebook group earlier this month and has been shared more than 2,500 times. Police said Sigdel had also posted a second photo of Oli's head on a naked human body.10 Date: June 2018 Saroj Niraula a journalist from Udayapur has been arrested by Nepal Police for Cybercrime against posting a photo of President Bidhya Devi Bhandari and Prime Minister KP Oli. According to the Nepal Police,Udayapur, “The Cyber Crime Monitoring cell issued the arrest warrant under the Electronic Transaction Act to arrest Niraula for posting the picture in the social networking site Facebook.” Niraula has been release and has publicly apologized for his action through his social media account.11 8 https://shreedeeprayamajhi.blogspot.com/2019/02/song-pressured-to-take-down-from.html 9 http://kathmandupost.ekantipur.com/news/2018-12-23/tarun-dal-leader-held-for-defamatory-post-against- dahal-on-social-media.html 10 https://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2018/08/22/man-arrested-over-facebook-post-depicting-nepal-pm-as- monkey-.html 11 https://www.rayznews.com/journalist-arrested-for-posting-edited-pictures-of-president-and-prime-minister-in- nepal/
  7. 7. Date : May 2018 A Canadian expatriate working in Kathmandu has been arrested and threatened with expulsion from Nepal because of his social media posts criticizing the country's human-rights situation. Robert Penner, a software developer living in Lalitpur, a district south of Kathmandu, had been writing about issues such as the problems of the Madhesi minority.12 Date: March 2018 A Tibetan activist in Nepal was detained for nearly 10 days by Nepalese police and threatened with deportation after he posted a picture of himself with a Tibetan flag on Facebook in early March and wrote to international embassies in Kathmandu about human rights concerns in Tibet. There are increasing dangers for Tibetans in Nepal as the Nepalese authorities deepen their relationship with China, with rumors of a high-level Chinese delegation visit to Kathmandu soon.13 12 https://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/world/canadian-arrested-in-nepal-over-tweets-criticizing-human- rights/article29825769/ 13 https://www.savetibet.org/photo-with-tibetan-flag-led-to-tibetan-activists-10-day-detention-in-nepal/
  8. 8. Conclusion: As the technology world is growing smarter and stronger, the dynamics of internet politics is also changing demanding a system of better governance. Today, Social Media is a controversial topic in the third world country where it represents the true power of FoE and public. It’s the only platform that provides an open and free environment where they can express themselves in a more proactive way. As the new generation is creating better ways of scoping and facilitating newer concept of democratic value through technology many threats are emerging as a core component of conditioning the FoE. To be precise Social Media is turning into a form of powerful media which speak louder and clear about public opinion. This has been created a variation in many levels of governance. The political system and orthodox mentality have been challenged in view of accountability, transparency and credibility which has been doctored with layering various tools of censorship and surveillance in the name of intervention. Following the trend Nepal government has created a fine up to Rs1.5 million and/or five years imprisonment for individuals who post online contents to sexually harass, bully or defame others. In its new Information Technology Bill14 For example, the broad definition of “social network” in the bill includes all information and communication technology-based platforms where people and organizations interact or share content. This would include everything from Facebook, Twitter, Instagram to messaging services like Viber. Even the more secure platforms like WhatsApp and Wire would fall under the purview of the laws enacted through this bill.15 This has been an issue in most of the developing countries where there are limitation of research and study. Due to the lack of proper knowledge and value of best practice developing countries and lower economies people are bound to suffer the consequence of limitation. In view to the suppressing regimes and their hardcore practice of limitation people to the reach of technology and voicing their issues. Nepal has fought back with the rigidity of sad governance and limitation with mal practices. The recent Nepal Government move towards regulating social media is direct hit towards the citizen fundamental right. The Criminalization of FoE in Social Media is certainly not a democratic practice where political leaders and policy makers needs to focus more towards better governance practice than prohibiting people from posting anything in social media. Technology will be emerging, and its evolution and practice should not be limited in due view of few conditions or bad practice. Policies and laws should be made looking at the bigger picture and best practice where research and study should be a priority. Prohibiting people from practicing their fundamentally rights can be a short terms solution, but it certainly raises question about the democratic practice. “The practice of Law should be to facilitate people from practicing their fundamental right, it should never be misuse against public and against their freedom, rights and values.” 14 http://www.rayznews.com/criminalization-of-social-media-by-nepal-government-in-new-it-bill/ 15 https://kathmandupost.ekantipur.com/news/2019-02-22/everything-you-need-to-know-about-the- governments-new-it-bill.html
  9. 9. Contact Information: Shreedeep Rayamajhi ICANN Wiki: https://icannwiki.org/Shreedeep_Rayamajhi Wiki: http://www.en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shreedeep_Rayamajhi_(activist) Email: shreedeep@rayznews.com | rayamajhishreedeep@gmail.com Website: http://www.rayznews.com/ | http://www.internetgovernancediplomacy.blogspot.com/ Rayznews Link: http://www.rayznews.com/ RayZnews is an Internet Organization based in Nepal that lobbies the un-heard voices of people and caters a wide variety of news happening globally. We believe in featuring or highlighting stories and voices against censorship, impunity, injustice, human rights, FoE issues, Gender Equality, Digital rights, open standard etc. Our mission is to raise awareness and to help people understand their digital rights in highlighting DIGITAL EQUALITY wherever necessary. http://www.rayznews.com/documents-research-paper/ Learn Internet Governance (Learn IG) Link: http://learninternetgovernance.blogspot.com/ Learn Internet Governance is a Collaborative Community Development Program (CCDP) which focuses on using local resources, knowledge and best practice to reach out to the youth. It is an open knowledge sharing platform creating better learning opportunity to produce new youth leaders.
  10. 10. Index

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