Five people arrested in two months for ‘misusing’ social sites against high-level government officials

- NAYAK PAUDEL, Kathmandu

May 21, 2019-

In the last couple of months, law enforcement agencies have arrested five individuals under the Electronic Transaction Act-2008 for posts and comments on social networking sites against high-level government officials which, according to the agencies, spread confusion and fear among the general public.

On Monday, 34-year-old Lal Bahadur Tamang of Sindhupalchok was arrested by the Metropolitan Crime Division from Baneshwor.

According to the division, Tamang was arrested for posting a comment on a social media platform, threatening the prime minister with life. Through his Facebook account, Salim Yonjan Tamang-bhai, Tamang had posted the comment over a news item posted by Nepali Khabar online on its Facebook page.

As per the division, Tamang’s comment was seen by their intelligence.

“The comment was indecent, violent and against the chief executive officer of the country. Tamang was arrested and is being interrogated under Clause 47 of the Electronic Transaction Act-2008,” Senior Superintendent of Police Sahakul Bahadur Thapa, chief of the division, told the Post.

Under the clause, a person cannot publish or display materials prohibited by the prevailing laws or materials that may be contrary to the ‘public morality or decent behaviour’. The clause also states that content which may spread hate or jealousy against anyone or jeopardise social harmony cannot be published or displayed through electronic media.

Anyone found violating the law is liable to a penalty of Rs 100,000 or can face up to five years in prison, or both.

Similarly, repeat offenders will be subject to stiffer penalties—one and a half times harsher than the previous punishment.

While Tamang was arrested for the violent comment, police have arrested four other individuals under similar charges—for tampering with pictures of the President and the prime minister, and posting it on social media platforms.

On May 10, 41-year-old Bir Bahadur Moktan of Ramechhap was arrested by the Crime Division, Bhaktapur. Moktan is said to have posted a picture of the prime minister with a caption deemed indecent. During the investigation, Moktan was found to be a cadre of the Netra Bikram Chand-led Communist Party of Nepal.

Similarly, the division had also arrested Ishwar Kumar Chaulagain, 50, from Sindhupalchok on May 7 for editing the picture of the prime minister and the President. Chaulagain is the principal of Shree Phatakshila Higher Secondary School in Melamchi, Sindhupalchok.

Along with the division, the Central Investigation Bureau has also arrested a couple of individuals for misusing the picture of Oli and Bhandari on social media sites.

A team from the bureau had arrested Nirmal Gaire, 22, of Palpa from Naya Thimi, Bhaktapur on March 26, and Yam Prasad Panthi, 23, of Rupandehi from Chitwan on March 27.

“The duo was arrested for misusing social media platforms by posting edited pictures of high level government officials,” spokesperson of the bureau SP Sudip Giri told the Post.

However, according to Nepal Police, such actions are not limited to cases related to high-level government officials.

“Anyone facing similar problems can lodge complaints at the nearby police station. Any individuals found guilty of misusing electronic media against anyone will face similar legal actions,” Deputy Inspector General DIG Bishwa Raj Pokharel, spokesperson for Nepal Police, told the Post. “We are taking stern measures since the misuse of social media platforms is increasing.”


Published: 22-05-2019 06:30

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