Kathmandu [Nepal], November 17 (ANI): About half-a-dozen writ petitions have been filed in the Supreme Court of Nepal challenging the decision of the Council of Ministers to ban the Chinese video platform 'Tik Tok' and the preliminary hearing of the petitions has been scheduled for November 20.
The petitioners who include some senior advocates filed the writ with Supreme Court arguing the TikTok ban infringes upon citizens' freedom of thought and expression. "Six writ petitions have been submitted so far. The writ petitions have been registered," spokesperson for the Supreme Court, Bhadrakali Pokharel said.
Senior advocate Dinesh Tripathi, advocate Swagat Nepal and others have filed separate writ petitions against the TikTok ban. They have demanded that the government's decision should be annulled, stating that the ban on Tik Tok has violated citizens freedom of opinion and expression, that the government, which was in the process of bringing in a regulation, decided to ban it abruptly, and that there was no legal basis for making the decision.
They have also demanded that an interim order should be issued in response to theirwrit petitions. A Cabinet meeting on November 13 decided to ban the social networking app TikTok in Nepal. The government has decided to ban TikTok citing disruption in family relationsand social harmony.
Nepali Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal earlier this week during his address had clarified that the ban had been imposed following "lengthy discussions and agreement [between ruling and opposition parties]. It was done in keeping with the practices adopted by established democratic and developed countries."Reacting to ongoing debate over ban on Tik Tok, Dahal added that debate on the ban would be natural, but that his government was motivated only by the intent of "stopping and curbing social ills and anarchy."In a separate development, the banned Chinese video platform writing to Nepal Telecommunication Authority (NTA) raised concerns over the ban.
Ferdous Mottakin, TikTok head of public policy and government relations for South Asia, sent a mail highlighting the concerns in seven points where he has mentioned about the recent meetings with Nepali officials and understandings made then.
"It is with great concern that we acknowledge the email received from your office today regarding the Government of Nepal's decision to block/ban TikTok," said the email written to NTA on November 13. "We were as surprised as we're sure the millions ofNepal citizens were, who have been a part of our community expressing their creativity and joy through the platform.""In a very short span of time, we have been embraced by people of all regions, cultures, and socio-economic strata in Nepal who utilise our platform to get informed, entertained, and inspired.""This ban will not just hamper our investment plans, it will also have a severe economic impact on our Nepali content creators, especially young adults. Nepali businesses, who have relied heavily on TikTok, use our platform to market their products and keep their businesses afloat. As a result of this ban, these businesses will be significantly affected as well."User safety is TikTok's top priority, reads the letter. "We are committed to promoting a safe and welcoming environment for our community," it said. "As a global platform, we have thousands of people across the globe where TikTok operates working to maintain a safe environment for our users. We address content and behaviour that violate our Community Guidelines through a combination of policies, technology, and moderation, which may include removing contents and accounts."It also stated that TikTok was registered in Nepal in August. "We registered as a digitalservice taxpayer in Nepal on August 29, 2023," the mail stated." (ANI)