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Nepal lifts short-lived ban on  PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds

Nepal lifts short-lived ban on PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds

April 24, 2019 | By Alissa McAloon

Nepal’s Supreme Court has lifted the government’s ban on PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds, ruling that the ban imposed unjustified limits on the freedom of expression guaranteed under the country’s constitution.

It’s a swift decision—the ban itself was only put in place earlier this month—and one that mirrors some of the issues other governing bodies have had when trying to address games deemed violent or addictive.

The Nepal Telecommunications Authority first ordered that internet service providers, mobile operators, and network service providers block access to the game on April 11. According to the Himalayan Times, the decision was met with a petition that argued the ban violated Nepal’s constitution.

Following that, the Supreme Court issued a notice to the government that PUBG, as a game used as entertainment, was protected under the constitution’s guarantees to freedom of expression. While the court and petitioners agreed that the government has the power to impose reasonable restrictions on that freedom, it was the Supreme Court’s opinion that the government had not done enough to prove that the ban was just, fair, and reasonable to justify those restrictions.

Prior to Nepal’s short ban on PUBG, a handful of cities in India attempted to do the same based on similar concerns surrounding addiction. Three cities originally rolled out that ban, but one has since rolled back the decision.  

Iraq’s parliament, meanwhile, voted to ban a handful of battle royale games, including Fortnite and PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds, just one week after the Nepal decision “due to the negative effects caused by some electronic games on the health, culture, and security of Iraqi society, including societal and moral threats to children and youth."

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