KATHMANDU: The Nepal government led by K P Sharma Oli has registered a bill in Parliament having provisions of harsh punishment for people for posting anti-government contents on social media, amid protest by opposition Nepali Congress.
In the bill, related to the management and regulation of information technology, the government has prescribed a fine up to Rs 1.5 million and/or five years imprisonment for individuals who post or propagate online contents deemed "objectionable" by the authorities or a character assassination or an attack on national sovereignty.
Nepali Congress leader and former Information and Communication Minister Minendra Rijal said that the government should not criminalise acts of publishing news or posting message in social media by imposing harsh punishment.
"The bill registered by the government in the Parliament indicates that the communist government is moving towards authoritarian rule," he said at an interaction programme on "Shrinkage of democracy in Nepal" organised by "Campaign for Democracy".
The Nepal Communist Party-led government having two third majority cannot impose authoritarian rule in the country by introducing laws to curtain press freedom and freedom of thought, said senior advocate Dinesh Tripathi.
Oli government is trying to prove that it can do whatever it likes through two third majority vote, which goes against democracy, he added.
Meanwhile, following objection by the Nepal Communist Party-led government, noted folk singer Pashupati Sharma has removed his song on corruption from social media site Youtube.
Sharma posted the song "Lutna sake loot", speaks about corruption, social anomalies and luxurious life adopted by the powerful people in the country, on Youtube on Friday, the day when the Oli government, having two third majority in Parliament, completed its one year term in the office.
The song was removed reportedly following threat to the singer by the ruling Nepal Communist Party cadres.
The song, shared by hundreds of thousands of people within 48 hours, continued to attract support from people even after it was removed from the Youtube.
It also criticises President Bidya Bhandari's office for making alleged purchase of goods worth Rs 1.5 billion, alleged indulgence of government staff in corruption and alleged difficulties being faced by the common people due to the corruption in the government.