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PUBG ban in Nepal stayed by Supreme Court, on grounds of freedom of expression

Nepal had banned PUBG and its siblings earlier this month on the behest of the country’s federal investigation agency. And now the Supreme Court has struck it down for the time being.

  • Published: April 22, 2019 9:32 AM IST
PUBG Mobile

Image credit: PUBG Corp

PUBG’s troubles seem far from over in India and internationally as people keep petitioning to ban the game. Parents and others in India have asked for a ban on the game to which the authorities in Rajkot in the state of Gujarat listened to, following which there was an outcry by the parents in the UAE as well. A ban was imposed on the popular battle royale game PUBG Mobile in India and in Nepal after claims of negative effects on underage persons and concerned authorities and parents vetoed the game.

The game was banned in Nepal at the request of the country’s federal investigation agency, and the Nepal Telecommunications Authority (NTA) has ordered ISPs, mobile providers and network service providers to block PUBGThere was no clear cut reason given for this move, but a statement much like the one we have seen in India was provided by the NTA’s deputy director who told Reuters that parents were worried their their children were being distracted from their studies and day to day lives. And now the Supreme Court of the country has stayed the Government order that banned PUBG Mobile, according to a Himalayan Times report. The ban was issued by the Karmandu District Court on April 11, and lawyers Pravin Subedi, Bikas Thapa, Anurag Subedi, Suvas Pathak and Ritesh Paudyal and law graduate Binay Rima approached the Apex Court challenging these ban orders.

Justice Ishwar Prasad Khatiwada, has observed that PUBG Mobile is a game and a source of entertainment for the users and issued the following statement, “Since press freedom and freedom of expression are guaranteed by the constitution, it is necessary to prove that such bans are just, fair and reasonable, and the actions of the authorities concerned are wise and logical… if the ban was allowed to remain in effect, it could adversely impact people’s rights to freedom.” The government has been asked to respond to this order.

In India it was banned by the Police Commissioner Manoj Agrawal on March 6 who released a notification that read, “It has come to our notice from various media that PUBG game, MOMO challenge is leading to a violent attitude among youth. The game is also having an impact on studies as well as behaviour, conduct and language of children and youth… Keeping in mind public safety security and to maintain law and order, I hereby impose a ban on playing PUBG game.”

Recently Khaleej Times of the UAE reported that parents are demanding a ban on the game citing reasons that it makes students aggressive and is in general a ‘bad influence on youth’. The report quotes a parent saying, “PUBG should surely be banned as it has a negative effect on the children’s mind. It makes them very aggressive. Kids have taken this game so seriously that nothing else seems to matter to them — not even studying. They care only about winning in this game.” The parent added, “With the recent New Zealand mosque attack, it didn’t surprise me when I read the response of the attacker and how games like Spyro Dragon and Fortnite trained him to be a killer.” There are time limiting sanctions on PUBG in its home country of China as well.

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To alleviate the concern of the parents, studies have found that video games don’t have any effect on people’s tendencies towards violence. There have been numerous studies that have come to this conclusion, and the most recent one took place in the Oxford University where the researchers claimed that their findings were opposed to the popular belief.

  • Published Date: April 22, 2019 9:32 AM IST