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Mixed Reactions to Government’s Decision to BAN PORN Sites in Nepal

Only last week on Friday, 21st September the Government of Nepal announced its decision to ban porn sites in the country via a press release. The government said that the decision had become a necessity considering the recent rise in rape cases in the country.

The press release reads, “The Criminal Code 2071 article 121 and other prevalent laws prohibit the production and dissemination of sexually obscene contents. In order to prevent the access of such content through electronic media, the need of pulling down such websites inside Nepal has become necessary.”

The press release directed the Nepal Telecommunications Authority to prohibit sharing, distribution and broadcasting pornographic content through any medium. Purushottam Khanal, Senior Director of NTA, agreed that pornographic content is illegal according to the laws of the country and that of the NTA as well. The NTA, in turn, directed the Internet Service Providers (ISPs) to ban pornographic websites.

However, the ISPs expressed their predicament regarding banning such sites. The ISPs said that the government had failed to actually do some studies regarding banning such sites and that blocking all pornographic sites is nearly impossible. Binay Mohan Saud, Vice President of ISP’s Association of Nepal expressed some of their concerns as follows: firstly, as soon as one site would be blocked another site is sure to pop up. Secondly, there is the possibility that one site blocked by one ISP might not be blocked by another ISP. The government had failed to consult the Association before announcing the ban.

The response from youth has been mostly negative regarding the ban. They were mostly of the view that banning pornographic content would only lead to people looking for other options which might lead to cases of sexual violence rather than aid in lowering the number of sexual violence.

On the other hand, NTA spokesperson Dhakal expressed that pornographic content has become a threat to the socio-cultural aspects of the country as even adolescent children are becoming addicted to pornography.

Some of the data regarding the topic are actually quite alarming. According to Google Trends in Nepal, the data shows that “porn” is searched by 70% of people using the internet on Google every week over the last 12 months. Likewise, according to the statistics from Alexa, Amazon company, among the top 50 sites in Nepal, 4 are pornographic sites.

Nonetheless, the government has already started the process to ban pornographic sites. The secretary at the Ministry of Communication and Information and Technology, Mahendra Gurung informed that they were aware of various ways the ban could be bypassed like with VPN and that they would be working diligently to overcome such challenges.


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