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Nepal’s Supreme Court stays PUBG ban, citing right to freedom

The Supreme Court of Nepal last week stayed the government countrywide ban on mobile game PUBG, stating that the game was simply used by the general public for entertainment, and allowing the ban to continue could adversely impact people’s right to freedom, per the Himalayan Times. The apex court has issued show cause notice to the Nepal government response on the matter. The court reasoned that “its necessary to prove that such bans are just, fair and reasonable” and that “the actions of the authorities concerned are wise and logical” given that press freedom and freedom of expression are guaranteed by the country’s constitution.

The Nepal Telecommunication Authority PUBG on April 11th directed all internet service providers, mobile operators, and network service provider – all intermediaries – to block “streaming of the game”. The regulator cited the game’s alleged negative impact on children and for being addictive among children and teenagers. Following the ban directive, a group of lawyers challenged the ban in the Nepal Supreme Court, stating the ban adversely affects fundamental right to freedom of expression.

Ban on PUBG in other countries

In India, PUBG was banned over the last month in several areas of Gujarat – Ahmedabad (lifted later), Rajkot, Surat, Bhavnagar, Gir Somnath, Panchmahal, and is banned in all Gujarat state schools. The bans were imposed because the game was addictive and supposedly leading to violence in children and teenagers. The Gujarat HC has dismissed a petition against the ban; another petition before the Bombay HC seeks that PUBG be banned in all schools in the state. The high court has asked MeitY take action if it finds any objectionable content.

Apart from Nepal and Gujarat in India, PUBG has run into issues in UAE and Iraq.

  • In UAE, parents have called for a ban on PUBG calling it a “bad influence on youth” due to its “violent content and addictive nature”.
  • Iraq’s pariliament last week voted to ban PUBG (and another game Fortnite) citing their negative influence on the young people in a country which has seen real-life violence

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Blogger at MediaNama. Personal blogs at www.lawforit.wordpress.com.

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