Nepal | December 12, 2019

Minister Baskota defends curbs on social media use

Himalayan News Service

Kathmandu, February 21

Minister of Communications and Information Technology Gokul Prasad Sapkota today said that misuse of information technology  could be as catastrophic as hydrogen bombs.

He said this at a press conference organised at his ministry to inform the press about the decisions that the Cabinet had taken in its meeting on Monday.

Minister Baskota said information technology was a crucial thing to be monitored as it was used also in war and for security matters.

He said the government brought the Information Technology Bill to control misuse of information technology, including social networking sites. “We have heard of cyber bullying and hacking. We need to control these things,” he added.

Minister Baskota said that the government was working on a plan to digitise information system and therefore, placing unreasonable restriction on information was out of question. He said even other countries of the world provisioned heavy penalty for those who misused social networking sites or information technology.

He justified the IT Bill’s provision that requires social networking sites to register in Nepal, saying there were 26 countries around the world where facebook had its offices.

“We need to have offices of social networking sites in Nepal so that when there is a serious breach of professional norms, those sites could be made accountable. I have heard complaints against social networking sites for misusing data during elections in some countries,” he said and added that those social networking sites should also pay tax to the government.

“How can social networking sites that make billions of rupees in Nepal be allowed to go without paying tax to the government,” he added. The minister also said that reasonable restriction was necessary to prevent people from maligning others by creating fake ID on social networking sites.

Social networking sites are required to be registered in India, Germany and USA also, he argued.

A version of this article appears in print on February 22, 2019 of The Himalayan Times.

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