Freedom Forum is seriously concerned over the Election Commission’s order to remove social media pages in the name of violating election code of conduct on October 25.
The EC has issued a press release stating- Facebook groups and pages with the names : No, Not again, No. Not Again and NO NOT AGAIN, etc. should be immediately removed or those people involved in those campaigns through social media will have to bear ‘fine up to 100 thousand or imprisonment up to five years or both’ according to the Electronic Transactions Act.
According to the social media pages with these names and hashtags, these pages have been opened with the motive to promote citizen’s Right to No Vote or Right to Reject. These pages have been found to inform and remind the public of the past experiences of the political leaders and candidates who are vying for upcoming federal and provincial elections.
However, the EC has claimed in the statement that the pages have defamed election candidates and confused the public to exercise their voting rights and spread misinformation and disinformation through their posts.
On November 6, Supreme Court issued a stay order stating not to take any action against the social media pages and has issued a show cause notice to the defendants asking them to furnish written replies within 15 days. The writ petition was filed at the court against the commission’s order on October 31.
FF’s Executive Chief Taranath Dahal argues, “While criticism and healthy debate is the essence of democracy and voters should also be well informed to exercise their voting rights, the EC’s move is aimed at stifling citizen’s right to free expression and speech.
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