The Online Safety Bill that seeks to promote online safety through the establishment of the Online Safety Commission, has been passed in parliament.
27 MPs voted for the bill, 14 voted against it while 9 MPs did not vote.
While tabling the bill, Acting Prime Minister Aiyaz Sayed‑Khaiyum highlighted the need to provide a specific avenue for Fijians to have their concerns and complaints with respect to electronic communications dealt with.
Sayed-Khaiyum says the bill is necessary as it seeks to deter harmful online behavior and the creation of specific offences such as the intentional posting of harmful electronic communications as well as intimate images or visual recordings without consent.
SODELPA MP, Semesa Karavaki says this bill allows immoral issues because it allows consenting adults to post their intimate recordings online.
Sayed-Khaiyum says this is completely irresponsible. He says if tomorrow someone goes and puts up an image of them masturbating or a lewd photograph of themselves, it is against the Crimes Act and will not be allowed. He says people cannot put up whatever intimate visual recording they like.
The bill allows for parents, legal guardians, or representatives as well as school principals and head teachers to lodge complaints on behalf of the person who suffers from mental incapacity.
In the bill, a person who posts an electronic communication with the intention to cause harm to an individual; would cause harm to an ordinary reasonable individual in the position of the individual; or causes harm to the individual, commits an offence.
A person who commits this offence is liable upon conviction to a fine not exceeding $20,000 or a prison term not exceeding 5 years or both for an individual; and in the case of a body corporate, a fine not exceeding $100,000, and for a director, chief executive officer, manager or officer in charge for the time being, to a fine not exceeding $50,000 or to a term of prison not exceeding 7 years, or both.
In determining whether posting an electronic communication would cause harm, the court may take into account any factor it considers relevant, including the extremity of the language, images or videos used; the age and characteristics of the individual concerned; whether the electronic communication was anonymous; whether the communication was repeated; the extent of circulation of the electronic communication; whether the electronic communication is true or false; and the context in which the electronic communication appeared.
The bill states that a person must not post or threaten to post an intimate visual recording of an individual. Any person who commits this offence is liable upon conviction to a fine not exceeding $20,000 or imprisonment for a term not exceeding 5 years or both for an individual; and in the case of a body corporate, a fine not exceeding $100,000 and for a director, chief executive officer, manager or officer in charge for the time being, to a fine not exceeding $50,000 or to a term of imprisonment not exceeding 7 years, or both.
This does not apply if the individual, who is the subject of the electronic communication concerned, consents to the specific post of the intimate visual recording.
However consent must be voluntary, expressed and informed, and does not include the consent of a child.
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