Freedom Forum Nepal has taken serious exception to the Nepal government's recent action of dissolving the High Level Commission for Information and Technology (HLCIT) undermining the need of enhancing access to internet freedom and strengthening freedom of expression.
'It is the narrowed approach of the government to dissolute the existing Commission instead of enhancing its functional capacity to work in tandem with citizen's need and aspiration', said Freedom Forum Chairperson Tartanath Dahal, adding the act is likely to increase government control over the ICT sector thereby digital gap.
The government was mulling to form a separate division under the Ministry of Science and Technology to handle the activities of the Commission. It demonstrates the government's outlook to information technology sector, which has increased chances of curtailing citizen's right to information.
The dissolution of the Commission ignoring objections from the parliamentary committee and stakeholders has revealed the government's myopic vision to limit constitutionally guaranteed access to information.
Downsizing the role of the Commission tasked with formulating policies, plan and strategies for the overall development of ICT sector as a division under the Ministry will definitely shrink the scope of work that will not augur well to the domain of RTI.
Freedom Forum condemns the Cabinet's recent decision of terminating the Commission terming it a wrong move of the government. The Forum asks the international community to pile pressure on the Nepal government to not devise such measures, which could, by any means, limit right to freedom of expression and information.