In a move aimed at preserving social harmony and addressing the surge in cybercrime cases, Nepal has declared a ban on the popular video-sharing app TikTok.
The decision was officially announced on Monday by Nepal’s Minister for Communications and Information Technology, Rekha Sharma, following discussions in a cabinet meeting.
Minister Rekha Sharma emphasized that the misuse of TikTok had disrupted social harmony and goodwill, leading to a growing demand for its control. The ban is not only driven by concerns over social order but also by the alarming rise in cybercrime cases related to TikTok.
According to local media reports, over 1,600 TikTok-related cybercrime cases have been registered in Nepal over the past four years.
Nepal Telecom Authority Chair, Purushottam Khanal, revealed that internet service providers have been instructed to technically close the TikTok application. Some providers have already taken action, and others are expected to follow suit shortly.
“TikTok has already been either partially or completely banned by other countries, with many citing security concerns,” Khanal stated, echoing the global trend of countries imposing restrictions on the app due to security apprehensions.
TikTok, owned by Chinese tech company ByteDance, has faced bans in various countries, including neighboring India, where it was banned in June 2020 along with dozens of other apps developed by Chinese companies. Security concerns and the potential compromise of national security and integrity were cited as reasons for the ban.
While TikTok did not immediately respond to the announcement by Nepal, the company has previously labeled such bans as misguided and attributed them to misconceptions, Reuters news report said.
The decision to ban TikTok in Nepal has drawn criticism from opposition leaders, with some expressing the view that the move lacks “effectiveness, maturity, and responsibility.”
Pradeep Gyawali, former foreign minister and a senior leader of the Communist Party of Nepal (Unified Marxist-Leninist), suggested that instead of outright bans, regulatory measures should be implemented to address unwanted materials on social media.
As the ban takes effect, the global debate over the regulation of social media platforms and the balance between freedom of expression and security concerns continues to evolve.