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Consider More Time For The Scrutiny And Consultation: Qereqeretabua

Consider More Time For The Scrutiny And Consultation: Qereqeretabua
National Federation Party (NFP) Provisional Candidate Lenora Qereqeretabua during her submission on the Online Safety Bill in Parliament on May 3, 2018. Photo: Losirene lacanivalu
May 04
12:38 2018

National Federation Party (NFP) provisional candidate Lenora Qereqeretabua has called on the Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights to consider allowing more time for the scrutiny and consultation on the Online Safety Bill.

Ms Qereqeretabua made this suggestion during her submission on the Bill in the Parliament Committee Room yesterday.

Agreeing that the internet needed to be made safer for everyone, Ms Qereqeretabua said she has been in the public eye for 30 years and had been a target of several online attacks.

However, she questioned why there was a need to set up a new body, a new commission.

She said in her opinion a new commission would only complicate the process of finding and punishing the perpetrators and this would draw out the suffering of the victims of Cyber-attacks, most of which are women, and their family?

“I dare say the threat of action by the Commission would be a very weak deterrent.”

She said the Bill in its current form risked the overlap of responsibilities and gaps in protection if the proposed Commission were to be set up.

Ms Qereqeretabua asked how confident could the public be in the impartiality of the Commissioner.

She suggested that instead of setting up a new Commission it would be logical to bring the Bills draft-in and strengthen the Police Cyber-crimes unit.

Ms Qereqeretabua said increasing the resources of the Police Cyber-crimes unit and widening their powers would be wiser than setting up a whole new entity to Police online behaviour.

She said instead of spending financial resources on the setup and operation of a new Commission; a commissioner, staff and office, it was better to boost the resources of the Police cyber-crimes unit and widen their mandate.

“The Fiji Police Force through its Cyber-Crimes Unit should continue to be tasked with receiving and investigating complaints as they had currently been doing.”

She gave an example as the case of an appalling sharing online of images of a 14-year-old female after allegedly been raped by a 21-year-old.

“I believe this case came to light on the weekend of the Coca-Cola games and one perpetrator is already before the Court.

“Kudos to the Fiji Police Force and those who helped in his apprehension.”

“I ask that more time be allowed for scrutiny, consultation, re-thinking and its amendment.”

Committee Chairperson Ashneel Sudhakar said the Commission was to have a specialised unit to expedite investigations and reporting and deal with online offences.

Mr Sudhakar said the Police department sometimes took 15 days to serve a Domestic Violence Restraining Order (DVRO), and they were already burdened with work.

Edited by Mohammed Zulfikar


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