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Vanuatu

Vanuatu comes down hard on porn

Legislation is being drafted in Vanuatu which will compel service providers to filter out sites considered illegal, illegitimate, and pornography.

According to the Office of the Government Chief Information Officer (OGCIO) the legislation will ensure that when people access pornographic or illegitimate sites, a message will direct them to the OGCIO.

Deputy Chief Information Officer John Jack said the process was transparent and this would be the proper way to do it.

Legislation is being drafted in Vanuatu which will compel service providers to filter out sites considered illegal, illegitimate, and pornography. Picture: Shalveen Chand

This is one of the many regulations and legislations the OGCIO has been trying to materialise.

“We want to deal with issues to make sure that we protect the contents of our online social media platforms as well as the websites by themselves,” said Mr Jack.

If this law is passed then Vanuatu will become the first nation in the Pacific which will have a filter for its users.

According to Mr Jack, this law is also designed to deter children and those below the age of consent from going to porn sites.

Some civil society groups have condemned the proposed move, saying such a law would be a violation of human rights.

Vanuatu is part of the Universal Access Policy meaning that people have access to an open internet.

In tackling the rising sexual crimes in Vanuatu and increase in access to pornographic sites, the Vanuatu Police Force said the Universal Access Policy had a downside and work was being done with stakeholders to develop a Digital Harmful content Act that will allow restrictions to sites such as pornographic sites.

Many are also concerned that social media could be added to the list of sites allowing the government more control over peoples data.

According to the United Nations, legal frameworks, whether set up to protect data or enhance cybersecurity, must be designed to centre on an individual’s right to privacy that is recognised under international human rights instruments.

For example, laws that authorise surveillance must be both “necessary and proportionate.”

All United Nations Member States are tasked with upholding fundamental human rights, online and off—and in this digital era, privacy is a cornerstone of these rights.

4 Comments
  1. Blackston 3 months ago
    Reply

    It’s about time we ban porn. It’s a poison to our society,
    infecting minds of the innocents, young and old . Well done OGCIO, please see to it that it must be done and carried out successfully.

  2. Jeff Garae 3 months ago
    Reply

    Fundamental Rights and Individual Rights to Privacy comes with ‘Respect and Responsibility.’
    Fundamental Human Rights online and offline and rights to privacy of an Individual is different from an act to protect a minor (child) or vulnerable individual, or establishing frameworks to proactively deal with illegal business accessing or using porn for negatively.
    Such Government legal framework are developed to protect citizens while being online.
    It is crucial to report information correctly, meaning translations and media articles be accurate and do not fuel or contribute to ‘Misinformation.’

  3. A Resident 3 months ago
    Reply

    In my opinion, internet access is not as widely spread in Vanuatu as in other countries. Thus to suggest that porn is the major contributor to abuse and violence would be more chasing the voters than actually tackling the issue at hand.

    Another article in the country placed by police stated that violence and incest happens as a result of marijuana, where in the rest of the world use of the drug describes users as being mellow and relaxed – quite opposite of the assumption made by the local police, which does not provide statistics or evidence.

    In my opinion, both of these are imitation of fixing a problem, where its actually just an attempt to blame some external factors. There should be sexual education and ethics at schools, after-class activities, programs where people are advised to understand that all forms of abuse and especially underage incest abuse is punishable and wrong. From another peapective, communities should be urged to report all cases that they know, and police should actually act per reports and separate the abused from the abuser. Abused should know that they will be safe vs that the abuser will come back home next day from the police, he will say sorry and it will happen again and again until it ends in a tragic way.

    All this seems as throwing a bandaid i to the sea to stop the water from coming in. Its pointless and actual underlying issues should be looked at.

  4. Jackson Miake 3 months ago
    Reply

    I suppose how the article was written makes it sound like the Government is doing something really bad, but in practical terms, these frameworks are important to ensure internet users throughout Vanuatu enjoy an online space like in the physical world that is safe, secure and open. Protecting our children from accessing harmful digital content is very important to ensure they enjoy a good quality life and build a Vanuatu that our forefathers who fought for independence wanted.

    I would find it very, very amusing for someone from Vanuatu who claims they have a right to watch porn, or that their basic human right to watch porn is being violated, because that is way outside our traditional governance system, that forbids such actions. People get called to a whole village meeting and shamed in front of the full village for such actions in our village governance structure, so this also apply to the online world. We have our traditional values that must be upheld at all times, because these are things that keep Vanuatu the way it is for thousands of years.

    We need every single person in Vanuatu to support the development of this legal framework, because at the end of the day our “kastom” and traditional values must be upheld in our development aspirations. As the saying goes “we are the master of our own destiny”, and our destiny is one that is free from harmful digital content. No legislation is written on stone, if we find areas that need to be ammended, we can always amend to suit our local context.

    Well done OGIO and the whole team behind this work!

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