Social Media Registration in Nepal

2 November 2023

Introduction

Social media refers to online platforms and technologies that enable individuals and enterprises to create, share and interact with contents in a virtual social environment. It serves as a means of interaction among people in which they create, exchange information and ideas in virtual communities and networks. Social media plays a crucial role in day-to-day life, from connecting people for one’s personal life to developing relationships for business life.

As social media continues to play a prominent role in our lives, concerns about data privacy, security and ethical considerations have emerged. In this scenario, registration and regulation of social media can be seen as a way to ensure that these platforms adhere to legal standards and requirements, safeguard user privacy, and maintain responsible content moderation practices.

Currently, there is no precise legal framework governing social media, but the Information Technology Bill of 2075 B.S. (“IT Bill”) has introduced provisions for the registration and regulation of social media platforms, indicating a step towards formal oversight in this digital domain.

Definition of Social Media

Section 2(y) of the IT Bill defines social media “as a system based on the internet or information technology that provides a person or an organization the facility to communicate interactively with each other and to broadcast content created by users.”

This includes Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, other messaging platforms like Messenger, Viber, WhatsApp.

Registration of Social Media

Section 91 of the IT Bill provides that any person desirous to operate a social media must register with the Department of Information Technology. Social media operating in Nepal before the commencement of this Act must also get registered within a period specified by the Government of Nepal. In case a person operates it without registering in Nepal, the Government of Nepal can restrict the use of such social media.

Regulation of Social Media Contents

In case a person uploads or is about to upload the content on social media that constitutes an offence under the IT Bill, the Department of Information Technology can immediately instruct the relevant social media operator to remove such content or information.

Use of Social Media by Government Authorities

The IT Bill allows the government authorities to provide the information through the means of social media.

Prohibited Contents

Section 94 of the IT Bill prohibits uploading the following contents with the use of social media:

  1. Undertake, cause to undertake, attempt or conspire hatred, malice or contempt on the basis of class, ethnicity, religious, communal and any other such basis which may hinder the sovereignty, territorial integrity, national security, national unity, independence, national interest of Nepal and inter-relations among the federal units, or upload the contents which hinder the inter-relations among various castes, sections;
  2. Encourage caste discrimination or untouchability, disrespect towards profession, encourage commission of crime; promoting activities of breach of peace, broadcasting or uploading the prohibited contents, undertake or cause to undertake any activities contrary to public morality and public ethics;
  3. Uploading the information with the intention of teasing, inciting, discouraging, reprimanding hatred and malice or misleading the recipient of information;
  4. To sell the prohibited materials under the prevailing laws of Nepal or broadcast or display advertisements in connection with the sale or distribution of such prohibited materials;
  5. Undertaking any activities with the intention to assassinate someone’s character without any facts or basis, or to undertake activities regarded as defamation and slander under the prevailing laws of Nepal; and
  6. Undertaking any other activities contrary to IT Bill.

In case the above mentioned contents are uploaded in social media, the Department of Information Technology can instruct the social media operator to remove or cause to remove such contents immediately. The social media operate must undertake such actions upon the instruction of the Department of Information Technology.

Offense and Punishment under the IT Bill

S.N. Offense Punishment
1. Uploading the contents in the social media so as to undertake, cause to undertake, attempt or conspire hatred, malice or contempt on the basis of class, ethnicity, religious, communal and any other such basis which may hinder the sovereignty, territorial integrity, national security, national unity, independence, national interest of Nepal and inter-relations among the federal units, or uploading contents which hinder the inter-relations among various castes, sections.

 

 

Punished as committing an Offence against the State.

2.

Uploading the contents in the social media so as to:

a)     Encourage caste discrimination or untouchability, disrespect towards profession, encourage commission of crime; promoting activities of breach of peace, broadcasting oruploading the prohibited contents, undertake or cause to undertake any activities contrary to public morality and public ethics;

b)    Uploading the information with the intention of teasing, inciting, discouraging, reprimanding hatred and malice or misleading the recipient of information;

c)     To sell the prohibited materials under the prevailing laws of Nepal or broadcast or display advertisements in connection with the sale or distribution of such prohibited materials;

d)    Undertaking any activities with the intention to assassinate someone’s character without any facts or basis, or to undertake activities regarded as defamation and slander under the prevailing laws of Nepal





Imprisonment for up to 5 (five) years or fine up to NPR 15,00,000 (fifteen lakh) or both.

3. If a social media operator fails to abide by the instructions provided by the Department of Information Technology. Imprisonment for up to 3 (three) years or fine up to NPR 30,000 (thirty thousand) or both.

Section 101 of the IT Bill provides that the compensation must be provided to any person suffering any kind of loss, damage, harassment or damage due to the commission of an offense by the offender.

Investigation and Jurisdiction

Section 105 of the IT Bill provides that investigation will be undertaken by an officer of at least the level of police inspector having knowledge of information technology. Moreover, any information or data generated by the electronic system in the course of action against any offense will be accepted as an evidence.

Section 105 of the IT Bill provides for the establishment of Information Technology Court in each province upon the publication of notice in the Nepal Gazette.

Disclaimer: This article is for informational purposes only and shall not be construed as legal advice, advertisement, personal communication, solicitation or inducement of any sort from the firm or any of its members. The firm shall not be liable for consequences arising out of any action undertaken by any person relying on the information provided herein. The copyright of the contents of this article is vested with Imperial Law Associates.

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