Toganivalu issues warning internet warning

Josefa Toganivalu, iTaukei Affairs Deputy Chief Executive Officer. Picture: iTaukei Affairs Board

INDIGENOUS Fijians have been advised to be mindful of the newly passed Online Safety Act and to use the internet responsibly. iTaukei Affairs Board acting CEO Josefa Toganivalu said the misuse and abuse of social media sites was alarming because those posting offensive and insensitive information displayed “un-iTaukei” behaviour and attitudes.

“It is very un-iTaukei for people to be posting nude people, dead family members, or bad mouthing other family members on social website posts,” he said.

“It is indeed sad to see this sort of behaviour.

“Take for example this week, a friend’s family member had passed away and before the other close family members were notified of the death, there were others who had posted about the
death.

“We know that people want to voice out their grief but they need to be mindful of close family members, it is almost like a competition now on who posts when someone dies.”

Mr Toganaivalu said some iTaukei continued to unashamedly bad mouth and attack close family members publicly.

“Again we are reiterating the importance of parents’ role in instilling values within their children to respect others,” he said.

“These values cannot be taught from elsewhere but the family.

“With the implementation of the Act, people need to be mindful of what they post and it is high time we had laws like this to hold people responsible.”

Meanwhile, the Arya Pratinidhi Sabha of Fiji has voiced its support for the Act.

Media relations offi cer Kamlesh Arya said the organisation believed the Act would provide a comfort zone for those subjected to online bullying and abuse.

“It will protect the vulnerable, the unsuspecting and defenceless Fijians from online abuse, bullying and defame from the unscrupulous, vindictive and malicious individuals hiding behind false identity and false contacts,” he said.

He said the Sabha likened the Act to that of the decree requiring mobile phone owners to register, which led to the curtailment of hoax messages that were rife prior to the registration requirements.

He said this would also ensure internet users made use of the technology responsibly.

“The Sabha hopes that the Bill serves as a sign post for wayward users and will deter them from using internet and other online facilities without impunity.

“The Sabha also hopes that a right and practical mechanism will be set up and the proposed (Online Safety) Commission will apply diligence in its operations.”