Consultation Meeting on Freedom of Expression on Internet

 Kathmandu, 15 December 2012: Internet Society Nepal organized a Consultation Meeting on Freedom of Expression. The meeting was organized with the aim of consulting stakeholders before finalization of research conducted by the ISOC Nepal on mapping of Internet and Freedom of Expression in Nepal.

Santosh Sigdel,  Vice President, ISOC Nepal made a presentation on the draft mapping report. In his presentation he highlighted situation of access to internet in Nepal as well as legal, policy and practical hindrances that pose restrictions on freedom of expression on the internet. The draft report has recommended different legal and policy reform to bring Nepalese provision in line with international human rights standards as scoped out by the UN Special Rapporteur in his report submitted to the UN General Assembly.

The Consultation meeting was attended by senior government officials, regulatory agency, security agencies, business community representatives that include Director General of Department of IT, Colonel and deputy chief of IT Department of Nepal Army, Spokesperson of Nepal Telecom Authority, Deputy Superintendent of Nepal Police, President of ISP Association of Nepal, IT Head of State Owned Telecom and largest ISP of Nepal, media activists and head of other ICT organizations.

Participants in the program agreed that Nepal has adopted technological advances promptly but lag behind in adopting necessary laws and policies. This inconsistency has affected rights of the citizens, including some fundamental rights, according to them. According to participants there is an immediate need to enact data protection and privacy law, amend existing Electronic Transaction Act, Defamation and other relevant provisions. Similarly, participants also highlighted the need to aware citizenry about the use of safe and diligent internet use on the background of rising rate of cyber crime, especially rampant in social media.

The consultative meeting proved very important for the finalization of the research report, according to the President of the Internet Society Nepal, Mr. Baburam Aryal. ISOC Nepal has planned to public final research report by the end of January 2013.