PITA members address the issue of protecting kids’ online safety in Fiji

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Samoa and Fiji lead the Pacific region regarding potentially harmful internet content, but for opposite reasons. The Samoan Regulator is encouraging Internet Service Providers in Samoa to establish systems to filter child sexual abuse materials and is currently undergoing a six months pilot scheme with the ISPs who have signed on to determine the best way forward and to ascertain legislative measures that need to be made.

On the other hand, according to this article published in the Fiji Times, Fiji leads the Pacific in searches for online pornography, ranking in the top 10 online searchers for adult content worldwide.

This June 2017 editorial from the Fiji Sun newspaper tells us that in May 2017 according to a report released by the Fiji Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions, “There were … 21 victims (of rape or sexual assault) … under the age of 18 years.”

These two articles suggest that there is something going on in Fiji that is not conducive to a healthy society. Is there a link between the consumption of online pornography and a high incidence of sexual assaults in Fiji society? We don’t know the answer to that question, but we’re sure that something needs to change if this abuse is to stop.

We congratulate the Samoan Regulator on being proactive in stemming the flow of potentially harmful material available online, and we call upon all Pacific nations to show leadership in this area.

Bypass is a member of the IWF and proudly supports their vision of globally eliminating child sexual abuse imagery online and to make the internet a safer place. Bypass’ customers can have access to the IWF’s list of  blocked websites as a part of their network level parental controls solution Buddy Guard or Regulatory Enforcement products. The list is automatically integrated into our network filtering technology, and provides parents with peace of mind that their children will not be exposed to inappropriate content online.

While we encourage policymakers to take action, we would also say the regions’ telcos should not wait for regulation. We encourage telcos to take a stand today against this horrific crime and implement network-wide blocking of child sexual abuse content.

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