Bid to ban porn sites

Opposition Whip Lynda Tabuya. Picture: FT FILE

A BAN on pornography will not stop Fijians from accessing x-rated websites, says Women, Children and Poverty Alleviation Minister Mereseini Vuniwaqa.

She made the comment in response to Opposition Whip Lynda Tabuya’s Free Fiji From Porn Initiative.

Ms Tabuya had proposed a concerted effort between Government and non-government actors to work together to address the issue by highlighting the negative impacts of porn on sexual attitudes and attitudes towards women.

She likened pornography to an epidemic that was having a catastrophic impact on children and linked pornography to the increase in sex crimes.

Citing the 94 cases of rape heard by the High Court in 2018, Ms Tabuya said all accused were male, the youngest a mere 11 years old and the oldest an 85-year-old.

She said all the victims were females, the youngest a six-month-old baby.

The oldest survivor was a 71-year-old woman. Ms Tabuya had advocated for Government to block access to porn on the internet, increase advocacy and awareness on the issue and to establish an addicts’ centre.

In response, Mrs Vuniwaqa said she was no defender of porn but disagreed with Ms Tabuya on how to address the social menace.

“The experiences of other nations who have tried the same, teach us that pornography bans are virtually impossible to implement,” she said.

“Even if Fiji were to implement any type of ban on pornography, those resources would go to waste with just a few clicks of the mouse on any computer or smartphone with access to the internet.

“In just five minutes, a person can download a VPN, virtual private network, to change their IP address to another country and avoid a Fijian internet block.”

Mrs Vuniwaqa said the solution to the porn scourge lay in the values parents taught their children.

“To truly free Fiji from porn, begins with instilling in our young people, good character.

“Let’s teach our sons to respect girls, to see them as equals and to support their dreams.

“It is imperative that parents take charge of monitoring children’s access to the internet.

“Let’s break the silence and talk about sex with our sons and daughters.

“But also take the initiative to check your children’s internet surfing history frequently and consistently.”

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