The Supreme Court of Nepal Thursday issued an interim order directing the country’s Election Commission not to take action against the “No, not again” social media campaign.The social media campaign, which calls for boycotting long-time politicians in the upcoming November 20 election, started in July and has gained momentum in recent days. The campaign uses headshots of the top leaders of the main political parties and states, “you have contributed enough now it’s time for the new faces.”The Election Commission warned against the campaign and other similar social media campaigns, threatening to stop the dissemination of fake news and hate speech against candidates. Claiming that the campaign was against the Election (Offense and Punishment) Act, 2016; Election Code of Conduct 2022; and Electronic Transaction Act, 2011, the commission warned that campaigners face imprisonment of up to five years or a fine of Rs. 100000 (USD $750) or both. Campaigners then filed a petition with the court, arguing that the commission’s threatened action violates freedom of speech, which is protected under Article 17 of Nepal’s Constitution.The court’s interim order is a continuation of the interlocutory order issued on November 6, which prohibited the commission from implementing its order until the final judgment. Consequently, the commission is prohibited from punishing the “No, not again” campaigners until final disposition of the case.

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