Effective today, Nepal has banned PlayerUnknown’s Battleground, abbreviated as PUBG, all over the country. According to a news report in the Kathmandu Post, the Nepal Telecommunication Authority has directed all the Internet Service Providers (ISPs) and mobile network carriers to block access to PUBG servers all across Nepal. The police have stated that anyone found playing the game would be subject to arrest. ISPs and mobile network companies are also liable to face action if they fail to implement the ban.
“We received a number of complaints from parents, schools and school associations regarding the effect of the game on children. We also held discussions with psychiatrists before requesting the Kathmandu District Court for permission to ban the game”,
Said Dhiraj Pratap Singh, chief of the Metropolitan Crime Division, to the Kathmandu Post in an official statement.
On Wednesday, The Metropolitan Crime Division filed a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) at the Kathmandu District Court requesting permission to ban the game completely.
In the PIL, they cited negative behaviour among children and youth, and highlighted the fact that several parents and school authorities in Nepal have asked for the game to be banned.
After permission was granted by the district court, the division then sent a letter to the Nepal Telecommunication Authority asking them to instruct all ISPs and mobile network providers to implement the ban.
The letter stated that PUBG “should be banned at the earliest in order to reduce its negative impact on the people playing it. Many other countries have also banned the game citing increasing aggressiveness in students. The game should be banned by Nepal as well in order to mitigate its effect on the mental health of the people of our country”.
In an official statement to the Kathmandu Post, Purushottam Khanal, acting chairman of the Nepal Telecommunication Authority said, “Based on a letter from the crime division, we have ordered all internet and mobile service providers to ban the game”.
The increasing number of children and youth playing PUBG for hours has been a hot topic for numerous debates since the last two years. There have been instances where people would neglect work or studies because of their addiction to the game. While these allegations are true, we cannot straightaway ignore the fact that the game brought in an entire new genre to video gaming and redefined online multiplayer.
Teamwork is crucial to the Duo and Squad modes of this game. It helps build up coordination among peers and results in increased interaction. PUBG has also helped a lot of budding video gaming influencers build up a fanbase and get into streaming and content creation. But for some reason, few developing countries in Asia tend to focus only on the game’s negative effects while ignoring the positive sides completely. China blocked the game in 2017, and few weeks ago several cities in Gujarat, India implemented a temporary ban on PUBG. Nepal, however, has completely banned the game in the country with no current plans of lifting it.
Although the ban was appreciated by parents, teachers and other officials all across Nepal, it was met with negative reception from the country’s youth population. A senior student at KIST college named Roshan Shrestha stated, “Rather than complaining, people should keep a close eye on their children and make sure that they do not spend a lot of hours on gadgets and games. Ban is not the solution”.
Banning PUBG is slowly becoming a trend in developing Asian nations and we hope that we do not wake up to the news someday that the game has been banned in our country too.