Nepal bans TikTok for “disturbing social harmony”

The Nepalese government has decided to ban TikTok, claiming that it violates “social harmony” in the country. This was reported by the Hong Kong edition of the South China Morning Post.

This happened on Monday, November 13, 2023, after a Cabinet meeting. Nepal’s Foreign Minister Narayan Prakash Saud said the app would be banned immediately.

“The government has decided to ban TikTok as it was necessary to regulate the use of the social media platform that was disrupting social harmony, goodwill and flow of indecent materials,” Saud said.

In order to make social media platforms responsible, the government has asked companies to register and open an office in Nepal, pay taxes and comply with the country’s laws and regulations, the minister added.

It is still unclear what exactly caused TikTok’s ban and the company’s refusal to comply with Nepal’s requests.

Gagan Thapa, leader of the Nepali Congress party, which is part of the ruling coalition, said that the government’s intention seems to be “suppressing freedom of speech.”

“Regulation is necessary to discourage those who abuse social media, but shutting down social media in the name of regulation is completely wrong,” he said in a post on X, formerly known as Twitter.

The decision to ban came a few days after Nepal introduced a directive requiring social media platforms operating in the country to establish local offices.

According to local media reports, more than 1,600 cases of cybercrime related to TikTok have been reported in Nepal over the past four years.

This is not the first major ban in Nepal. In 2018, the country banned all pornographic websites.

Nepal has joined the growing cohort of countries where TikTok is fully or partially banned. TikTok is completely banned in Somalia, Syria, Jordan, Iran, Afghanistan, India, Kyrgyzstan, and now Nepal. Previously, the network was also banned in Indonesia, Pakistan, Bangladesh, and Azerbaijan.

Moreover, TikTok is banned even in China, where the government-controlled Douyin network is used instead.

In the United States, TikTok is completely banned in Montana, and in 34 out of 50 states, this social network is banned for public officials. In addition, TikTok is banned for public servants in the UK, Ireland, Norway, Denmark, Austria, France, Belgium, the Netherlands, Estonia, Latvia, Taiwan, and Australia.