(FILE) A view of TikTok logos in the TikTok office during a press tour of Bytedance and TikTok's offices in Singapore, 29 August 2023. EFE/EPA/HOW HWEE YOUNG

Multiple appeals challenge Nepal’s TikTok ban before Supreme Court

Kathmandu, Nov 17 (EFE).- At least a dozen appeals were filed Friday before the Supreme Court of Nepal to challenge the recent government ban on Chinese social network TikTok.

“We have registered their writ. The hearing will begin on Monday,” supreme court spokesperson Bhadrakali Pokharel told EFE.

Earlier this week, the Nepal government announced a ban on TikTok for allegedly disrupting social harmony, but did not give a specific date for its implementation.

The ban sparked a wave of criticism in Nepal, including within the coalition government itself, between calls to respect freedom of expression and demands for content be moderated and not a total ban.

Meanwhile, the Chinese social media company wrote to the Nepal Telecommunication Authority expressing its “great concern” over the ban on Nov. 13, the same day it was announced.

“We were as surprised as we’re sure the millions of Nepali citizens were, who have been a part of our community expressing their creativity and joy through the platform,” said the letter, a copy of which was accessed by EFE.

TikTok warned of the damage done to Nepalese businesses that “who utilise our platform to get informed, educated, entertained, and inspired.”

It further underlined its past efforts to satisfy the demands of Nepalese authorities, going so far as to remove almost three million videos in less than a year for violating their community guidelines.

On Nov. 9, Nepal issued a social media regulation that includes a list of 19 things not to do for social media users.

It includes a prohibition on creating social media accounts with fake identities and sharing or making comments through it, posting hateful or misleading content, among other things.

Moreover, social networks such as Facebook, X (formerly Twitter) and Youtube also need to open offices in the Himalayan country or risk being shut down.

Nepal’s TikTok ban follows in the footsteps of several countries such as neighboring India, although for very different reasons.

New Delhi banned the popular short-video platform in mid-2020, along with several other applications developed in China, due to a diplomatic crisis with Beijing over a border clash between the two countries’ security forces in the western Himalayas, in which at least 20 Indian soldiers died and more than 70 were wounded. EFE