Nepal’s internet is regulated by the government, which basically means that those in positions of power have the authority to limit Nepalis’ access as they see fit. In 2005, for example, the king decided to cut off international internet access as part of the declaration of Martial Law.
The government can impose censorship on internet material, as it did with the satirical folk song Lutna Sake Lut. It was thought to have been taken down by the creator in response to threats of imprisonment for sharing the music in Youtube.
The House of Representatives introduced the Information Technology Bill in February 2019. The government of Nepal registered the Media Council Bill in May 2019 immediately after it was introduced, including provisions that would stifle the freedom of speech of printed and online media.
In the latest step by the government to crack down on free speech, people in Nepal who post “offensive” remarks on social media platforms such as Facebook and Instagram might face up to five years in prison.
A series of arrests occurred between 2019 and 2020, including 38 journalists and a rapper (VTEN) who was imprisoned for a week under the “act of antisocial behavior” due to his song lyrics.
It was expected that this new law would further restrict free speech, with the direct impact being on journalists, but the wider repercussions are in fact impacting the people of Nepal as a whole.
Banned websites in Nepal
The government has blocked various websites, especially those with sexual material and some news sites with content directly pointing to any law enforcement officials, as was demonstrated in 2017 when four news websites reported stories about a senior police official.
Is it vital to use a VPN in Nepal?
It is strongly advised to use a VPN in Nepal due to the ambiguous data protection regulations that allow the authorities to monitor your private conversations and track your surfing history.
There are a lot of VPN’s out there that are available but mostly it will require you to pay for you to access and connect to the certain server. Unseen Online Unlimited VPN is a totally free, ad supported VPN that enables you to access blocked websites and protects you from the government spying on you while browsing.