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Save The Children Concerned With Online Bill

Save The Children Concerned With Online Bill
From left: Save the Children Fiji representative Amita Prasad with Online Bill Comittee Chairman Ashneel Sudhakar and Reslyn Sidal of KidsLink Fiji. Photo: Losirene Lacanivalu
May 04
11:00 2018

Save the Children Fiji yesterday raised its concern on Section 6, (24) Part 4 Offences of the On­line Safety Bill.

Presenting the organisation’s sub­missions, Save the Children Fiji’s programmes manager development Amita Prasad, said the inclusion of children in the Bill showed its com­mitment to the access of appropriate information and taking pro-active steps to protect children from harm­ful materials.

However, Ms Prasad said they were concerned with clauses of Section 6 such as

(1) A person who-

(a) posts an electronic communi­cation with the intention to cause harm to an individual

(b) posts an electronic communi­cation where posting the electronic communication would cause harm to an ordinary reasonable individual in the position of the individual; and

(c) posts an electronic communica­tion where posting the electronic communication causes harm to the individual

Ms Prasad said the clauses were generalised and may almost allow for any interpretation including any negative opinions of someone (in­cluding a child) or institution may be deemed as harmful and may be liable for conviction of persons.

“We recommend that the above clauses have explicit definitions.

“As a child rights organisation, Save the Children Fiji is of the view that Children and young people use the media as a strong advocacy tool.

“Therefore, the Bill must ensure that participation and freedom of ex­pression for children under the Unit­ed Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) is upheld and promoted and not suppressed in the endorsement of the Online Safety Bill 2018.”

Ms Prasad said their concerns were also on child offenders.

“The bill is almost silent when a child is the offending party. Yet it re­quires a fine not exceeding $20,000.

“Therefore, Save the Children Fiji is of the view that this provision is not child friendly and that appro­priate recourse and redress should be within this provision to cater for child offenders.”

She said the review of the law un­der Section 26 and the composition of the Commission if established should include key child-rights stakeholders.

“Alternatively, an advisory body composed of key child rights stake­holders should be able to advise the Commission on all matters relating to children under this new law.”

Edited by Mohammed Zulfikar

Feedback: losirene.lacanivalu@fijisun.

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