Criminalization of freedom of expression is an evolving problem that has been an issue of study and discussion. Especially in developing countries due to lack proper policies and mechanism law is being misinterpreted in causing by the government. The question that evolves here is whether the government wants to act like a regulator or facilitator? Understanding the situation different laws and regulations are created to facilitate the public under various provisions of social welfare. For having clarity in understanding these provisions, these core values are segmented in various international laws.
In-fact, in today's world of globalization when there are no boundaries, any type of un-justice in and against is marked by standardization.
The Nepal police has confirmed that they will arrest anyone who would be writing against them. In recent practice people have been arrested just for commenting or opining in social media site like facebook.
Under the Interim Constitution of Nepal secures the right of every Nepali citizen to freedom of expression and right to speak.
It is a sad thing, but how the government agencies are using the law to slack normal public instead of fighting criminals.
The article 47 of the Nepal Eletronic Act 2068 says
Publication of illegal materials in electronic form: (1) If any person publishes or displays any material in the electronic media including computer, internet which are prohibited to publish or display by the prevailing law or which may be contrary to the public morality or decent behavior or any types of materials which may spread hate or jealousy against anyone or which may jeopardize the harmonious relations subsisting among the peoples of various castes, tribes and communities shall be liable to the punishment with the fine not exceeding One Hundred Thousand Rupees or with the imprisonment not exceeding five years or with both.
(2) If any person commits an offense referred to in Sub-section (1) time to time he/she shall be liable to the punishment for each time with one and one half percent of the punishment of the previous punishment.
Abed El Rahman was arrested for commenting on a Facebook status and was put under police remand for 20 days. He had commented on a journalist’s facebook post of a story, ‘Improving security in Saptari’. Rahman on May 31 had commented as ‘how he to pay Nrs 50,000(USD 500) to bring back his looted motorcycle.’ He was released on Friday under the order of the Kathmandu District Court against the deposit of Nrs 5 thousand rupees (50 USD). The Saptari Nepal Police arrested Rahman under article 47 of Nepal Electronic Transaction Act 2063 for 5 years imprisonment and Nrs 0.1 Million (1000 USD) fine.
Similarly, in another case, Raju Prasad Sah was arrested for commenting against the current Home Minister Bam Dev Gautam, quoting him, “He should be shot in his back” on a photo that was shared on the official facebook page of the national daily. The Story was covered by a national Daily Naya Patrika that featured the photo of the current Home Minister of Nepal crossing the freeway neglecting public safety rules at a midday on a busy road.
The government agencies trying to regulate voices of people online is certainly not a proactive move. We live in democracy and in a democracy every individual has the right to speak and freedom of expression. Any individual getting arrested just for the sake of his statement that too in a social networking site is not acceptable. Criminalization in freedom of speech is not a scenario of law, but it's a topic of discussion and research. The rigidity of the government agencies in understanding the law shows the wrong use of power and authority.
Our Interim Constitution secures the basic rights of every citizen of Nepal, regardless of who he/she is.
EVERY INDIVIDUAL HAS THE RIGHT TO SPEECH AND FREEDOM OF EXPRESSION