The rise of Nepali pornography.
Nepal is only just beginning to open its virtual doors to the Internet. Having been effectively isolated for the first decade or so of the revolution that is the World Wide Web, the Nepali judiciary and government has now found itself unable to cope with the opportunities that the web offers to pornographers.
Both from outside the country and within it would appear that the Internet is being used in Nepal for the first thing that many of those who already have access to it use it for â€“ porn.
Webcam and mobile phone videos are appearing on YouTube, well-known Nepalese actresses have had their images Photoshopped onto pornographic images and a teacher was recently convicted of enticing a 13 year old pupil into his bed snapping pictures of her then attempting to blackmail her into having sex with her by threatening to show the images to her parents.
Also, a Dutch tourist videoed himself with a woman from Pokhara who he had a “brief affair” with â€“ now the DVD is available to buy on the Internet.
Then there was the case of the Nepalese man who had a fling with his wife`s friend while they were in Britain and recorded their liaison on his laptop. The PC crashed and the guys in the repair shop thought it would be a great idea to post it on the Internet. This lead to the woman`s father attempting suicide.
Nepal doesn`t seem to be ready for the Internet socially, legally or in a regulatory sense. That`s not the fault of Nepal, but the Web itself. Even in Western societies that have grown accustomed to the Internet as it has developed we often struggled to cope with the power it wields; Sometimes it feels like the Internet is controlling us not the other way round.
Not all the Nepali “porn” on the Internet is as explicit or shocking (at least to our Western eyes) as some of the sensationalist headlines in the Asian press would have you believe. Often it`s softcore or simply suggestive.
But here lies the other problem.
The furore that accompanied the first Internet scandals in Nepal, like the one involving the actress Melina Manandhar`s head being digitally edited onto a nude model`s body, has died away. Is the outrage going to be replaced by a grudging acceptance and allowing any and every kind of sexual act to be explicitly depicted? Only time will tell.