Nepal’s Supreme Court Temporarily Halts PUBG Ban, Asks Government to Prove Its Point First
It's never good news when a game, or any form of entertainment really, is censored or banned by governments. That recently happened in Nepal, where PUBG (PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds) was banned with the motivation that it's too addictive for children and teenagers, distracting them from their studies. Interestingly, the United Kingdom's Duke of Essex expressed a similar sentiment for Fortnite, the main competitor of PUBG. Prince Harry called for a ban, though luckily he has no such power to do so.
We're happy to report via The Himalayan Times that Nepal's Supreme Court has temporarily halted the ban of PUBG. They ruled that the government will first have to prove the ban is justified, as it would limit the freedom of expression of Nepalese people, which is protected by the constitution.
The apex court also issued a show cause notice to the government. The court observed that PUBG was basically a game used by general public for entertainment. 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, the bench stated in its order. The SC observed that the ban imposed by Kathmandu District Court on April 10 was not reasonable. The court observed that it decided to stay the ban imposed by Kathmandu District Court and subsequent orders passed by the government agencies on the basis of Kathmandu District Court order because if the ban was allowed to remain in effect, it could adversely impact people’s rights to freedom.
The petitioners argued in their writ petition that if someone played any game using internet or any other means, then such acts were related to their freedom of expression. They said the government had the power to impose reasonable restriction on freedom of expression. However, in this case, no ground as stated by Article 17 of the constitution existed and hence the ban on PUBG could not be justified.
We'll see whether the government can prove its point to the Supreme Court or not. We're certainly rooting for the latter outcome.