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Unal Wins Cyberspace Debate

Unal Wins Cyberspace Debate
Far Right Fiji National University Student Unal Dev at the debate event. Front is Fijian Competition and Consumer Commission chief executive officer Joel Abraham. Photo: SUPPLIED
April 05
10:00 2018


Unal Dev, a third year law student at the Fiji National University, was awarded the best debater award in the Regulating Cyberspace Debate between University of the South Pacific and FNU.

The debate, which was organised by the Consumer Council of Fiji, saw the former science student, who converted to law, debate on the topic: “Should cyberspace be regulated to deal with fake news and cyberbullying?”

In his arguments rebutting cyber laws, he said it was evident that people were exercising this right because it was the right guaranteed under the constitution, the supreme law of our land.

He said if this right was not enshrined in the constitution, no one would have the right to freely express themselves.

“Why regulate the whole cyberspace for only two issues – cyberbullying and fake news? I think these two issues have already been regulated,” he said.

“Cyberbullying and fake news are regulated under existing laws. For example, if a person has suffered psychological breakdown as a result of fake news, there are defamation laws (the Defamation act) in place which provides justice to the victim.”

He said technologies were developing and if cyberspace was to be regulated, he asked how could regulation keep up with cyberspace?

He further argued that websites and applications are developed and created to bypass forbidden sites and even cover up tracks, which means that amendments after amendments have to be made on regulations, and this would be a very time consuming and tedious task.

“Talking on the issue of regulation of cyberspace particularly with the intention to curb only two issues: “fake news” and “cyberbullying” basically means to let the Government enact a law which would govern the whole cyberspace.

“In a way, the people who would argue for the issue, meaning if you agree that there should be regulations on these issues, then you are simply giving away your fundamental rights as mentioned earlier and that you are depending on others to make regulations for you which could be done by you and you only.

“You decide whether you want others to rule for you or you want to rule for yourself. Remember it all comes down to individual rights which are guaranteed under the constitution.”

He said the consequences of the regulations must be seen practically and asked how were the courts to deal with cases that would come up after the regulations are in place? How were they going to monitor if the regulations are being followed?

And does Government have the required funds and expertise to prepare regulations and enforce them?

Edited by Jonathan Bryce


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