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Is regulation the answer?

Social media under state scrutiny in Fiji

DISCUSSION around regulating cyberspace at Fiji Attorney General’s conference generates a few interesting questions and reactions for public discussion. Police Commissioner, Brigadier-General Sitiveni Qiliho, was perhaps the clearest in his sentiment stating, “To answer the question of whether we should regulate cyberspace, the answer is a definite yes.”

This sentiment in amongst others is underpinned by a variety of what can be termed as cases of digital deviance that has recently attained a significant level of notoriety and attention. This has overshadowed healthy digital discourse and dissent, which does exist in Fiji’s digital landscape. To an extent Prime Minister Frank Bainimarama’s statement of “when used correctly, can be an invaluable tool for… encouraging healthy discourse” only reaffirms the obvious for the constructive and engaged digital Fijian citizens.

Most of the notoriety has been generated on interactive platforms or social networking sites (SNS) such as Facebook. It is worth acknowledging that there are a variety of other social networking sites that are active in Fiji, such as Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, Pinterest and Tumblr. However, Facebook is the most heavily engaged and prominent social networking site in Fiji’s digital landscape. Facebook in Fiji now has an estimated 490,000 accounts, ranging in age from 13 to well over 65. 

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