Legal framework set to criminalize child pornography
Namibia made an urgent call to action to identify and address child online sexual abuse taking place, globally and in Namibia, as part of the global “#We PROTECT children online” programme.
Speaking at a workshop held outside Windhoek last week, which ran under the theme “Child Online Safety and Business”, the Permanent Secretary from the Ministry of Information, Communication and Technology (MICT), Mr. Mbeuta Ua-Ndjarakana announced the key components contained in the draft Namibian Electronic Transaction and Cybercrime Bill.
He said the draft Bill will provide for a comprehensive and progressive provision to criminalize child pornography; assist in regulating illegal searches; provide for the admission of abusive electronic evidence to authorities; and create certain powers for the investigation of offences.
“We are facing a challenge of protecting children in an increasingly digital and online world and education is vital”, said Mr Ua-Ndjarakana, “therefore protecting our children online from exploitation is something that MICT is working on and this workshop is testimony of our commitment towards realizing that”.
The workshop brought together 30 representatives from the technology industry in Namibia and in the region. Participants came from the Group Social Mobile Association for Africa (GSMA Africa), the Communications Regulatory Authority of Namibia (CRAN), the South African Film and Publications Board, various government departments and civil society organisations. International organisations that attended include Child Helpline, the InHope Foundation, the Centre for Justice and Crime Prevention, the Children’s Ombudsman, and academia.
The delegates were introduced to the global International Telecommunication Union and UNICEF Child Online Protection Guidelines for the industry and to technological tools that were developed to assist the industry in tracking the spread of child sexual abuse materials and to hamper the success of criminals who seek to exploit and abuse children online.
Speaking at the same event the UNICEF Representative to Namibia, Ms. Micaela Marques de Sousa said, “The role of the ICT sector in building online safety of children is critical. This is why it was important for UNICEF to establish global partnerships with the ICT sector including GSMA, Microsoft, Google, Facebook, Twitter and others to develop guidelines and tools for companies to better integrate children’s rights to their policies and operations.”
The workshop discussed local strategies that fit into the broader global #WE PROTECT Children Online programme that is funded by the United Kingdom Government and implemented in 17 countries including Namibia.