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Nepal introduces jail terms for "offensive" social posts

Rotjita Adhikari, reporting for The Guardian:

Jail terms of up to five years could be imposed on people in Nepal who post “offensive” comment on social media sites, including Facebook and Instagram in the latest move by the government to crack down on dissent.

The information technology bill, introduced at the end of December, imposes fines of up to 1.5m rupees (about $13,000) for anyone posting content deemed to promote hate crime or ridicule. It would apply to all social networking sites.

Nepal is a democratic country, by the way. Their government claims the change is because their “society is going out of control”.

On one hand, it’s a “you have bigger problems” situation. On the other hand, we know the damage unchecked social media can do in places with those bigger problems.

That’s not to excuse or justify the decision. It’s not a good one.

It’ll also be an interesting test for social platforms. The EU have said that Facebook can be forced to remove illegal content. Will the Nepalese Government try to push for the same?

It’s easy to dismiss this as a fringe case when you’re sitting in a Western country. But a lot of people in democratic governments will be paying close attention to these bills become law.

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