Rising Calls for Online Safety Regulations in Fiji

Suva lawyer Jon Apted has urged the Online Safety Commission to fulfill its responsibilities as an independent regulator of online safety in Fiji. Apted’s comments come in the wake of the reported suicide of a well-known local TikTok personality and social media influencer.

Apted emphasized the importance of Fijians being cautious about what they post and share on social media about others. “Fiji social media has been out of control for a while now with flagrant personal bullying and nasty exposés being the daily norm on many accounts and on the large Fiji group sites,” he said.

The constitutional lawyer highlighted that it is against the law to post anything on social media or send any electronic message that might cause serious emotional distress to a reasonable person or to post or share an intimate video recording. He noted that such offenses are punishable by up to five years in prison and a maximum fine of $20,000.

“Unfortunately, the Online Safety Act has been forgotten and the Online Safety Commission has disappeared from the public stage. Now, sadly, a prominent social media personality, who was herself the subject of intense bullying over the last couple of days, has reportedly ended her own life,” Apted remarked.

The Online Safety Act 2018, enacted by Parliament, established the Online Safety Commission for the promotion of online safety, deterrence of harmful electronic communication, and related matters. The OSC began its operations in 2019 with the aim of providing an avenue to help individuals confronted with harmful online content by delivering services and resources to minimize harm and educate on proactive and safe online practices.

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