Fiji Sun - - Front Page - LOSIRENE LACANIVALU Edited by Percy Kean

The much awaited On­line Safety Bill of 2018 was en­acted and passed after much de­bate be­tween Gov­ern­ment MP and Op­po­si­tion Mem­bers in Par­lia­ment last night.

The Bill re­ceived 27 votes agreed, 14 against and nine did not vote.

The Bill was in­tro­duced to pro­mote on­line safety to in­crease aware­ness and ed­u­ca­tion on re­spon­si­ble on­line be­hav­iour and the use and pro­vi­sion of per­sonal in­for­ma­tion. Act­ing Prime Min­is­ter and At­tor­ney-Gen­eral Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum said the law was necessary, rel­e­vant to Fiji and to pro­tect the vul­ner­a­ble in so­ci­ety and not about post­ing hate speech.

Mr Sayed-Khaiyum said there had been nu­mer­ous in­put by peo­ple to the com­mit­tee on Jus­tice, Law and Hu­man Rights.

He said as some spoke about the ab­sence of democ­racy in the Bill, they how­ever failed to un­der­stand the trauma of those who were af­fected.

Na­tional Fed­er­a­tion Party (NFP) leader Bi­man Prasad said ma­jor­ity who gave sub­mis­sions on the Bill re­jected the Bill and there was a need for more time to look into the Bill.

While agree­ing with Mr Sayed-Khaiyum in re­gards to cy­ber bul­ly­ing, Mr Prasad said a law had to be a good law and the Bill was not a bi­par­ti­san re­port as no Op­po­si­tion mem­ber in the com­mit­tee signed the re­port. He did not sup­port the Bill and an­other six months was needed to look into the Bill.

Gov­ern­ment MP and As­sis­tant Min­is­ter for Women, Chil­dren and Poverty Al­le­vi­a­tion Veena Bhat­na­gar said the Bill would de­ter the un­scrupu­lous be­hav­iour of some who hid be­hind fake pro­files, ‘cow­ards’ who chose to hide be­hind the tech­nol­ogy and abuse the vul­ner­a­ble.

Mr Sayed-Khaiyum said a lot of is­sues were raised on the why should there be an On­line Safety Com­mis­sion.

Look­ing at the ob­jec­tives of the com­mis­sion, Mr Sayed-Khaiyum told MPs that the com­mis­sion would pro­mote on­line safety, cre­ate aware­ness, in­ves­ti­gate com­plaints and seek to re­solve such com­plaints as ap­pro­pri­ate.

He said the rea­son the Bill was brought up now, was be­cause Gov­ern­ment was pre­par­ing for the 2018-2019 Na­tional Bud­get and the ap­pro­pri­ate bud­getary al­lo­ca­tion had to be made.

Mr Sayed-Khaiyum added that the peo­ple of Fiji needed to be pro­tected against those who took ad­van­tage of oth­ers by us­ing so­cial me­dia.

Photo: Ron­ald Ku­mar

Act­ing Prime Min­is­ter and At­tor­ney-Gen­eral Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum out­side Par­lia­ment on May 16, 2018.

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