SA MPs stand up to protect ‘most vulnerable’ online

Staff Writer
By Staff Writer, ITWeb
Johannesburg, 13 Mar 2023

South African parliamentarians have proposed a regulatory amendment to ensure stronger controls to protect women and the girl child online.

This was disclosed during the 35th session of the Forum of Women parliamentarians at the 146th Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) Assembly, discussing the theme: “Cyber attacks and cyber crimes: The new risks to global security”.

According to a Parliament statement, South African MP Fikile Masiko made the proposal to amend the draft resolution submitted by various countries belonging to the IPU.

The proposed amendment, says the statement, was influenced by research conducted by United Nations Women, which found some states do not criminalise the non-consensual online dissemination of intimate or sexually explicit images.

Parliament notes Masiko proposed that paragraph six of the draft resolution be amended to the following: “Encourage Parliaments to make full use of their oversight function to ensure governments have the tools, including comprehensive support to victims in the form of technological support for digital content deletion to control the rapid increase in cyber crime and cyber attacks, and to protect the digital security, identity, privacy and data of citizens, especially the most vulnerable.”

Currently under way inManama in Bahrain, the IPU Assembly is a 133-year-old body of 179 Parliaments of the world. It is attended by over 1 700 delegates and 63 speakers or heads of parliaments.

South Africa is represented by a parliamentary delegation led by National Assembly speaker Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula, as well as other MPs and high-ranking officials, including Parliament secretary Xolile George.

MP Dr Annelie Lotriet, who also participated, expressed that more women are needed in key institutions such as Parliaments, to build more inclusive and equitable societies.

Dr Lotriet criticised the lack of legal protection in countries which continue to enable gender-based violence and discrimination.

Furthermore, she emphasised the imperative role that should be played by parliamentarians in ensuring a comprehensive domestic legislative framework is accompanied by appropriate resources and awareness programmes, to not only end impunity but to send a strong message that violence against women is not acceptable, indicates the statement.

The draft resolutions are scheduled to be presented to the IPU Assembly for adoption before the end of the week-long conference.