Nepali Congress calls for revision of controversial IT Bill
KATHMANDU: Main opposition party Nepali Congress has asked that the government revise the much controversial IT Bill which according to many looks to restrict Freedom of Expression under the garb of regulating activities on cyberspace.
The Development and Technology Committee of the House of Representatives had passed the Information Technology Bill on December 29, ignoring the opposition of Nepali Congress lawmakers in the panel.
NC on Wednesday issued a statement calling for the correction of certain provisions on the bill which could curtail citizens' right to freedom of opinion and expression under the pretext of regulating use of the internet. The opposition party condemned the government's step toward limiting freedom of expression, deeming it unconstitutional, while urging the concerned sides to speak in defense of people's basic rights.
What is the IT bill all about:
- The said bill proposes severe penalty for offence against state and computer hacking.
- It provisions a fine not exceeding Rs 1.5 million or a jail term not exceeding five years, or both, for posting content on social networking sites that may pose a threat to the country’s sovereignty, security, unity or harmony.
- A fine of up to Rs 50,000 or six months jail term or both on those found guilty of cyberbullying.
- The original bill had proposed to punish people guilty of cyber bullying with a fine not exceeding Rs 1 million or jail term not exceeding five years or both.
- For those responsible for deleting or interfering with information stored in somebody’s computer, the committee proposed to increase the jail term from one year to three years.
- The bill makes it mandatory for social networking sites to register with the Department of Information.
Experts are of the opinion that the bill would give an unfair advantage to the government to silence those who used social networking sites to express their dissatisfaction.