Regional News of Saturday, 12 April 2014

Source: J Initiative, Ghana

NGO calls for serious action against child pornography

J Initiative made a case for Child Protection at the just ended first ever Digital Family Forum organized by the Ministry of Communication to interact with sector stakeholders with the view to developing collective understanding of policy perspectives for implementation.

We have always used the maxim “children are the future” and l am pretty sure most of us parents, teachers, Politicians, doctors and whichever profession you could find in Ghana allures to the fact that children are the future leaders of any country.

It is against this background that we made the case for the Minister of Communication to take a second look at what their strategies are with regards to protection for children in the cyber space at the Digital Family Forum.

We in Ghana just like any other African country seem to be confronted with the challenge of children’s abuse of the internet tools they are exposed to and some being abused by preys in the cyber space since there isn’t much done to ensure that children are safe online.

We pay lip service to the issue of cyber space security as far as children are concerned;” parents should ensure that children are safe online” then one will ask how many parents are home early enough to monitor which sites children visit, how many parents know or check the web history of the children when they come back from work? How many parents go to the cyber café with the children just to monitor which site they visit or what they do?

A truthful response to these rhetorical questions make it incumbent on us as a country to develop a collective strategy to police the cyber space in the interest of children of Ghana as stated in the International Telecommunications Union’s protocol under the African Children Cyber Safety Initiative’s mandate; African “Governments should make information security including children’s online protection a national priority.

They should fund efforts and invest in promoting information security.” This is because everybody acknowledges the dangers that come with the use of the tools and Children and young people need the ICT tools to develop into Global Citizens anyway.

ICT is a fast growing industry does not mean they should be left to do things on their own. We at J Initiative are not trying to antagonize any stakeholder either, all that we seek to achieve is and will be responsible and safe cyber environment where children and young people can thrive and service providers’ task to do enough to take responsibility.

In a related development, we applaud the Minister of Communications for the effort in signing the Memorandum of Understanding between the Ghana, ECOWAS and the ITU to ensure cyber security and to combat cyber-crime in the sub-region.

J Initiative will like to state here that our doors are open for any engagement regarding strategies to ensuring that Children and young people stay safe online and this we believe could be tackled at the policy level.