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Editorial: Online Safety Bill will protect Fijians being Victimised on Social Media

The introduction of the Online Safety Bill in Parliament last night sets the platform for safe online spaces for Fijians. Debate regarding this Bill will continue in May despite the
16 Mar 2018 10:00
Editorial: Online Safety Bill will protect Fijians being Victimised on Social Media

The introduction of the Online Safety Bill in Parliament last night sets the platform for safe online spaces for Fijians.

Debate regarding this Bill will continue in May despite the call from the Opposition to have it later in the year.

In September last year the Fiji Sun had highlighted the exposure of 900 nude images of unsuspecting young Fijian women who were identified as university students.

All stakeholders including the Fiji National University, University of the South Pacific, Fiji Women’s Crisis Centre, and the Police had condemned the racket as criminal. The photos were in a Dropbox, or online storage folder.

One of the victims we spoke to, shared about how she felt hopeless and shameful. She was depressed and snubbed, even by her friends. She had faithfully allowed her then-boyfriend to take an intimate picture of them.

She called the pain she went through an “incurable disease.”

Other victims were reluctant to talk because of the social stigma involved.

Now with the Online Safety Bill, those responsible for creating the Dropbox can be taken to task.

In Part 4 of the Bill titled Offences it is an offence when a person:

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

A person who commits the offence is liable upon conviction:

In the case of an individual, to pay a fine not exceeding $20,000 or imprisonment for a term not exceeding 5 years or both and

In the case of a body corporate, a fine not exceeding $100,000, and for a director, chief executive officer, manager or officer in charge for the time being, to a fine not exceeding $50,000 or to a term of imprisonment not exceeding 7 years or both.

The Online Safety Bill if passed will protect Fijians from being victimised on social media as is rampant today. It will make online users think twice before they post things online.

ROSI DOVIVERATA

Feedback:  rosi.doviverata@fijisun.com.fj

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