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In a surprising turn of events, TikTok has officially contested the decision of the Nepal government to ban its operations within the country. The Chairman of the Nepal Telecommunication Authority, Purushottam Khanal, confirmed that the authority had received a letter from TikTok expressing strong disagreements with the ban imposed last Monday.

TikTok, in its letter to the Nepal Telecommunication Authority, conveyed its astonishment at the government’s move to shut down the platform. The social media giant emphasized the potential economic repercussions on the youth of Nepal due to the ban and highlighted its commitment to user safety.

The letter outlined seven key points, reminding the government of previously established agreements and discussions held with various agencies in Nepal. TikTok stressed that it had collaborated with the Nepal Telecommunication Authority to conduct an internet security awareness campaign in the country.

Additionally, TikTok informed the government that on June 7 of the current year, it had granted access to the ‘Trust and Safety Enforcement Tool (TAET)’ for the Government of Nepal. This tool was intended to be used for reporting any content that violated local laws, showcasing TikTok’s dedication to adhering to regulatory frameworks.

Furthermore, TikTok pointed out its compliance with local tax regulations, having registered as a digital service taxpayer in Nepal on August 29. The platform also disclosed that, from October 2022 to June 2023, it had removed a substantial number of videos—2.9 million and 80 thousand—violating TikTok’s ‘community guidelines.’

Interestingly, TikTok mentioned that the ban contradicts a proposal of collaboration made by the Nepal government to work continuously with ‘Apu,’ expressing its readiness to cooperate and make necessary provisions for future collaboration.

TikTok’s argument also extended to the principles of freedom of speech and expression, claiming that the ban was inconsistent with these fundamental rights.

In response to TikTok’s letter, Chairman Purushottam Khanal stated, “They have sent a letter expressing their disagreements. Now we have received the letter. We will send it to the relevant agency and inform them. Since the government has decided to close TikTok, we will inform the letter through the Ministry of Communication.” He clarified that the government’s decision would be final, as the authority cannot and will not agree on the ban on TikTok.

The situation sets the stage for a potential standoff between TikTok and the Nepal government, raising questions about the balance between freedom of expression, national security concerns, and the economic impact on the youth of Nepal.

Yukesh Chaudhary

Keep working, and keep hustling! CEO of Niriv, The Internet Company.