No, Not Again in Nepal For Election Has Been Highly Appreciated by People

The 'No Not Again' campaign, which started even before the registration of candidates for the Mansir 4 House of Representatives and State Assembly elections, has intensified in recent days. According to a commissioner of the Election Commission, some parties and candidates drew the commission's attention to the fact that they were disrespectful to the top leaders of the major parties and asked not to cast their votes.

No Not Again in Nepal For Election Has Been Highly Appreciated by People
No Not Again in Nepal For Election Has Been Highly Appreciated by People

October, 27

Kathmandu,

'How many will be jailed?' We do not accept such a democracy, which cannot hear, see and take opposition.'

This is an expression posted on Wednesday at 12 noon by a Twitter account called 'Ravin is Ravindra'. He has put up propaganda materials with photos of the six leaders who have become prime ministers and has called for them to be given an honourable farewell in the next election.

In this post, he has used the hashtag 'No Not Again'.groups and pages opened in the name of 'No Not Again', to close many contents that have been placed on this social network under the hashtag No Not Again. They protested that the Election Commission is trying to restrict freedom of expression.

The 'No Not Again' campaign, which started even before the registration of candidates for the Mansir 4 House of Representatives and State Assembly elections, has intensified in recent days. According to a commissioner of the Election Commission, some parties and candidates drew the commission's attention to the fact that they were disrespectful to the top leaders of the major parties and asked not to cast their votes.

"After that, we told the social network monitoring mechanism through our information technology department to look into the matter," said the commissioner. .'

The Commission's internal mechanism had identified 29 groups in the name of No Not Again on Facebook by Tuesday afternoon. Some groups had up to 13,000 members. After Tuesday's announcement, Twitter and Tiktok posts about it are increasing. The campaign is running on Twitter with the hashtag No Not Again. They satirized not only the people's representatives but also the officials of the commission saying that they should run a 'No Not Again' campaign.

Commission is Aggressive

in attacking the candidates. The 'No Not Again' campaign was started on Facebook saying that some leaders of the major parties who were elected consecutively in the elections after the restoration of democracy in 2046 did not do much for the people, and because they are too old, they should not win again. In the last few days, pages and groups opened in the name of the campaign have been calling for the names and photos of politicians who have been Prime Ministers, who have repeatedly held important ministries and who have been elected many times, not to vote for them and to defeat them.

According to the briefing given to the commissioners by the Election Commission's mechanism to monitor social media, it was suggested to discourage such groups and their activities on some important grounds. One, who and how this campaign has been conducted has not been clearly disclosed. All those involved in the campaign are invisible and they have tried to hide their identity.

Secondly, in the name of the No Not Again campaign, content has been prepared and advertised on Facebook in the last few days to reach many people. Third, misinformation and hate speech against the candidates may spread if the campaign becomes aggressive.

According to an official of the Commission who is closely monitoring the activities of the campaign, the activities of the No Not Again group are against some top leaders of major parties.

They are relatively silent about leaders of minor parties and big parties who are not much talked about. And they sympathize with independent candidates, newly opened parties and new leaders who have moved aggressively. Commission sources said, 'It seems that after the emergence of Balen in Kathmandu and Hark Sangpang in Dharan in the local elections, they are campaigning aggressively.'

Election Commission spokesperson Shaligram Sharma Poudel said that the Commission has no comment on the objective and theoretical concept of the 'No Not Again' campaign. But he says that it would be wrong to the campaign by naming a candidate to defeat them. He says, 'You can have a clean debate about the candidate, but you can't use malicious expressions, misinformation and slander in that name, you can't kill the character.'

The Election Commission has already sent a letter to the Cyber ​​Bureau of Police to monitor expressions and offensive content against party leaders through such pages. Electoral Commission spokesperson Poudel said that if such activities violate the prevailing law, action has also been requested in accordance with the Electronic Transactions Act.

Why the dispute?

During the internal discussion of the Commission, the employees of the Law Division pointed out that the materials posted on No Not Again are against the code of conduct.

The officials of the commission have come to the conclusion that it should be controlled by saying that a plan has been made to collect financial resources and deliver them to a large group in an organized campaign.

A Commission source said, 'On top of that, the Commission has come to the conclusion that such campaigns should be stopped as it appears that the campaign is emphasizing on spreading content targeted at individuals rather than theoretical debate and discussion on its purpose.'

According to the internal analysis of the Election Commission, since the independent candidates could not get the same election symbol, some groups of independent supporters had registered 'Our Nepali Party' and forced independent candidates from all over the country to register their candidacy under the same name.

A few days ago, the Commission requested that the stick election symbol registered as 'Our Nepali Party' should not be propagated as a symbol of independent candidates and should not be called an independent campaign.

According to the analysis of the officials of the Commission, the 'No Not Again' campaign intensified. The Commission's analysis is that the campaign of sympathizing with newly opened parties and independent candidates has systematically attacked established big parties and their old leaders.

Proponents of the 'control-oriented concept'

freedom of thought and expression and Internet freedom criticize the Election Commission's decision on Tuesday. The commission is of the opinion that the campaign started by the citizens to question and warn against the party and its leaders should not be curbed.

'If a citizen can say that he should vote for the candidate he likes for this reason, then he can tell the candidate he doesn't like that he should not vote for this reason or not?' Advocate and internet freedom advocate Santosh Sigdel says, 'This is also a matter of basic freedom in a democracy.'

On Tuesday, a police officer of Nepal Police's Cyber ​​Bureau said that even though the commission was told to shut down the page and group in the name of 'No Not Again', there was a technical problem. According to him, since there are many groups in the name of No Not Again, there is no doubt as to which one should be removed by the Commission. It is not easy to take action against them. Moreover, it is almost impossible to control pages and groups operated by Nepalese abroad.

On the other hand, after the commission issued a statement, the order of setting up and posting one group after another has increased as a form of retaliation. After the Commission's announcement on Tuesday, content against the party's second-ranking leader was also seen in this group. 'This has made them more aggressive, the commission seems to have inspired revenge' said the police officer, 'Instead, it would have been better to be dignified and take care of the code of conduct while debating during the election.'

Some argue that the Election Commission's move will narrow the debate on the candidates and their qualifications, abilities and backgrounds. Some advocates of freedom of expression have protested that the officials of the Election Commission have come to the defense of the top leaders targeted by No Not Again.

Another commissioner of the Election Commission sees the challenge that democracy itself is in danger from such aggressive and invisibly conducted campaigns. He says that while it is natural to have healthy criticism about what a public representative has done in the past and what his role is, false information should not be spread against him. According to him, some materials of the No Not Again campaign have spread wrong information about the candidates.

The message has been given that people's representatives who have reached the age are harmful for the country. Some have been accused of being corrupt. Some people have had to bear many insults,' he says, 'such materials have influenced even the voters and have not allowed them to make the right decision. The commission said that it is not a clean democratic practice for them to decide their representatives based on wrong information.'

Band on Facebook Pages Against Dispute

Band on Facebook Pages Against Dispute

The Election Commission has ordered the immediate closure of Facebook pages and groups that contain defamatory statements against the party's top leaders. The Commission has requested the immediate removal of such pages and groups, saying that top leaders have been defamed in Facebook groups created under the name of 'No Not Again'.

The commission said that defamatory expressions, and misleading and malicious audio-visual content made through such groups in the context of the registration of candidatures for the elections to be held on Mansir 4, are considered offences according to Section 47 of the Electronic Transactions Act, Section 23 of the Election Offenses and Punishment Act 2073. Similarly, the commission also says that such activities are against the code of conduct of elections.

Shaligram Sharma Poudel, the spokesperson of the commission, said in a statement that the offender will be fined up to one lakh rupees or imprisoned for up to five years or both. The Commission has also been requested to remove such pages and groups immediately and not to engage in such activities from now on.

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