Himalayan News Service
KATHMANDU: Working journalists today stressed on the need to regulate internet and online journalism to curb the violation of freedom of expression.
They aired their views at a discussion programme in the capital.
Nepal Telecommunication Authority’s letter of August 27 asking Internet Service Providers (ISPs) to filter cyber content has drawn the attention of working journalists. There are over 40 ISPs in Nepal.
According to the Electric Transaction Act 2006, ISPs should restrict storing,
disseminating, broadcasting web sites containing pornography, horror and extreme
However, the contents of pornography, horror, communal violence and contempt of court are not well-defined, according to lawyers Santosh Sigdel and Baburam Aryal, who jointly presented papers on ‘Freedom of Expression on Cyberspace and Internet Regulation in Nepal’.
Sigdel and Aryal said
filtering web content without clear legal provision might
violate freedom of expression and breach the right to
Journalist Bishnu Nisthuri raised the question of NTA’s mandate to regulate internet content.
He suggested a separate organisation with a mandate to monitor it.
In the discussion, speakers said a scrutiny of web content should be brought in for broad discussion before taking steps to filter web content.
There is agreement that web content must be regulated only after a clear legal definition of the acts and regulations; otherwise, it may create chaos.
Suresh Acharya said filtration of web access might violate freedom of expression.
Bishnu Nisthuri said there should be a users’ code of conduct for internet use.