Journalists have supposedly streesed the need to regulate internet and online journalism to curb the violation of freedom of expression.
They aired their views at a discussion in the capital. The meeting was called in response to the Nepal Telecommunication Authority asking ISPs to filter internet content.
According to the Electric Transaction Act 2006, ISPs should restrict storing, disseminating, broadcasting web sites containing pornography, horror and extreme violence.
However, pornography, horror, communal violence and contempt of court are not well-defined, according to lawyers Santosh Sigdel and Baburam Aryal, who jointly presented papers on Freedom of Expression on Cyberspace and Internet Regulation in Nepal
Sigdel and Aryal said: filtering web content without clear legal provision might violate freedom of expression and breach the right to privacy.
There was agreement that web content should only be censored after a clear legal definition of the acts and regulations; otherwise, it may create chaos.
A notice is likely to be issued regarding the government's decision to ban pornography in a week's time. ISPs doubt if such a move
would be practical.
As per the government decision, cyber cafes will now need to take permission from the District Administrative Offices (DEO) before starting their operations.
They will also be asked to maintain record of users´ login and logout time. The cafes will be monitored by representatives from DAO, District Tax Office, Nepal Police and local IT professional recommended by DAO.
Following an appeal from the Home Ministry, Nepal Telecommunications Authority (NTA) has been working with ISPs and telecom operators to ban sites that have pornographic content.
Internet Service Providers Association of Nepal (ISPAN) has said they needed to install firewall and filtering software to block pornographic sites. The filtering software costs anything between US $100,000 to a million dollar, said ISPAN
President Binay Bohora. Hence effective implementation of the government decision would be a tall order for the ISPs, he added.
NTA Spokesperson Kailash Prasad Neupane believes that after porn sites are banned, then internet users will spend time doing research and creative works on the web.