Freedom of Expression - Unconventional request as to blocking of a website in Nepal

TeliaSonera in 2013 adopted a Group Policy on Freedom of Expression in Telecommunications, available here. According to our Policy we will, whenever possible, report on our efforts in relation to requests or demands with potentially serious impacts on freedom of expression in telecommunications.

Government's requests or demands often serve legitimate purposes such as the protection of certain human rights, but they may also be conflicting with other human rights. TeliaSonera's commitment is to respect freedom of expression in telecommunications.

In Nepal, mid-August, the website, by a written order from the Nepal Telecommunications Authority (NTA), was blocked by the local operators, including TeliaSonera’ local subsidiary Ncell. The order was unspecified as to period of time but was then unblocked end of August.

Ncell has kindly requested the NTA to inform about the legal basis of such a blocking-request.

The Policy of TeliaSonera is not to engage in the politics of the countries in which we operate. We do not comment on politics or make political statements when representing our company. However, TeliaSonera does engage in dialogue regarding requests from authorities that affect our business and customers of companies in which we have ownership interests.

TeliaSonera, as one of the ten principles in our Group Policy, has publicly committed to comply with requests or demands relating to the surveillance of communications only to the extent required by law, including formal requirements. TeliaSonera will continue to promote this view, also when in dialogue with Governments and authorities as to service limitations.