It is a really surprising move by Nepal government – to ban websites in order to “reduce crime.” According to a latest report, educational sites are being banned under the directive of Nepal Government. One of the most surprising ban is the blockage of a dictionary site:
(photo credit – @l0stanzel)
According to an English Daily, ‘The Kathmandu Post’ article, banning sites is a desperate attempt of the government after its, “failure to provide justice to 13-year-old Nirmala Pant despite such social outcry, this banning of porn is merely a liarâ€™s paradox.”
It says, “the blame on pornography instead of accepting its own incompetence and the failure of its justice system is only a veil the government is using to not address many severe underling issues.” (Kathmandu post)
The article says, “Similarly, various studies done among diverse human civilisations has failed to find any precise correlation between digital erotic content and real world sexual violence against women. As the argument goes, much research evidence has revealed that porn actually functions as a â€˜safety valveâ€™ for otherwise violent instinct.”
This is not the fist time Nepal government had tried banning websites. In 2010 I did an analysis of sites blocked in Nepal: (read the report)
WikiLeaks website couldn’t be opened in the US and Europe today. WikiLeaks official said that the site was under a forceful internet-based attack causing site to be inaccessible to the users in U.S. and Europe. A British newspaper, Dailymail, reports that the current attack is most likely coming from China. Earlier, it was reported that China has blocked the website within the country.
Various political leaders have wished to punish the 39 year-old founder of WikiLeaks, Julian Assange for releasing the confidential diplomatic documents.
… why is our government so worried about P-rn-Watchers’-pillars-of-the-nation? How about minding their own business & drafting Constitution on time?
Those were some of the responses to the ‘internet black list,’ the Nepal government prepared, with so much enthusiasm and dedication! In the previous post, I had given enough examples on what ‘the list’ was made up of. The six out of the first ten websites were no-brainier bull-sh*ts !
Let’s go through the remaining list:
Site No. 12 – This website features some magazine but, I couldn’t find any graphic materials in there. I didn’t bother to readÂ the content (and, I am more than confident that none of the decision makers of the list did read it!). The only apparent reason, the site falls in the list is that there is a taboo word in the title.
While going through the first 10 websites in the list, I found 6 out 10 sites were wrongly listed. You can guess what the rest of the list might look like (and, it is the second updated list)! I will do the remaining review later.
Second website in the list – is a parked domain. Hey, it is full of ads and nothing in it and it is blocked because the domain name is not decent-enough!
They did a good job of promoting some sites like Huffington Post, or sfsi (I had never heard of them before!) with the explicit websites ban list. Now, thanks to the wide-spread protest, the government has updated the list to remove non-relevant and add more sites like Playboy.
You might have expected the government had felt the shame and has done a good homework to update the new list. You are wrong! They are far from being serious in including the relevant sites in the updated list. Continue reading
Nepali Times published the full list of websites banned in Nepal by the government.Â It wasÂ surprising to find â€˜huffingtonpost.com’ andÂ â€˜sexpistolsofficial.com’ included in the the 60 sites blocked in Nepal. Continue reading
It was much easier in the olden days when the Government controlled everything. The equation has changed drastically with the recent advancement in communication and electronics. The phone, newspapers, radio, movies, television, post letters were much easier to control. In this internet-age, although all of these services can now be embraced in a single device, a computer; it is much more difficult to control.
There are always problem when government seeks control on one of these communication media. Countries like US and China are effectively controlling these media but, when it comes to the poor countries, like Nepal, it is not that easy.
The recent attempt of the Nepali government to control internet can be seen as one of the desperate attempts to control communication of its citizen. The only, and the most palatable front to start internet control was "public decency and courtesy" issue. They know, society can digest the argument and there will be less resistance on such control. The idea however is not original, and was widely practiced during the 1980s feminists and conservatives’ attempt to raise the issues of morality and public safety. Their argument, hard-core erotica promotes sexual violence against women, was proved to be flawed! In a paper (download pdf) presented at Stanford Law School, Clemson University economist, Todd Kendall, suggest that p0rn sites help potential rapists to relieve their sexual urges and do less crimes. Meaning, such sites actually decreases sexual violence.
In a latest news, the Home Ministry (HM) has decided to work with the Nepal Telecommunications Authority (NTA) to ban p0rn sites in Nepal.
It was in August the government decided to ban such sites in Nepal. After a week or so, the government announced the ban of such sites and a "fine of Rs. 100,000 and/or 5 years in prison" for the violators. The ISPs were told to use filters and ban such sites. The public started crying foul-play when the ISPs started banning websites randomly.
With Google offering free calls to any phone numbers in the US and Canada, Nepal government might block Gmail in Nepal as it "bypasses the local telephone network" to make such free calls.
Nepal Government wanted to start banning websites but it is getting tougher than they previously thought. At first, they wanted to ban sex sites. They even issued directives to ISPs and as far as I know, the directive isn’t being implemented till date.
Nepal government tried blocking explicit websites. But, till date there is no report of actual blockage of such websites. But, in a recent news, Nepal government has blocked five VOIP websites accusing them of bypassing the local telephone network. According to Nagariknews, blocked websites include nepalicalls.com, rynga.com, smartvoip.com, jumblo.com and 22.214.171.124.
VOIP is the future of telecommunication. They have their share of problems but being cheap they are gaining popularity in all over the world.
It’s very important that we work to preserve the Internet as a medium of Free Expression and the first step is exposing and stopping governments from engaging in unlawful censorship.
The quote above is taken from an email from the research group. We will talk about it in details, with their permission, in future.
When talking about nudity and explicit contents, these things were never foreign to the people in Nepal. Many temples in Nepal have such carvings of people and animals engaged in sexual acts. These age old carvings were always open to public and the people were proud about the openness.
The Nepal Government’s has decided to block all websites containing explicit content and nudity. Now onwards, nobody is allowed to view or host such websites in Nepal. If anybody is found to be violating the order, the person can be fined Rs. 100,000 and/or 5 years in prison.
Last week, the news about the Government’s plan to play a parent’s role came out and I gave 5 reasons it might not be successful. After the official announcement of the government, I still think it is not a good idea to start a complete ban. They could have started informative campaigns or education programs. In this contest quoting a post in a Facebook Group, protesting the Government’s ban seems relevant.