Online Child Safety Portal [www.childsafety.org.np] is launched with the objective to protect the child from abuse online as a part of Safer Internet Day 2019 celebration. This year the day was marked with the slogan “Together for better Internet,” and this was the first time in Nepal.
The forum has developed the Portal for Digital Equality, Internet Society Nepal, Center for Law and Technology in technical cooperation of Internet Watch Foundation, the UK based not for profit organization as a part of Online Child Safety Initiative.
The portal is designed in a way where anyone can complain about the child abuse video or photo (imagery content) anonymously or disclosing the identity. The reporting tool, developed by the Internet Watch Foundation analyze content and if found offensive shares the information to the concerned agency. These reports can be used by law enforcement agencies’ to take further legal actions as well as could be taken down from the Internet by the operators. IWF also collaborate with global stakeholders to remove such abusive contents. Various other services are also available through the portal like laws, policies, materials on safe use by children, safe parenting will also be possible on this portal.
Emma Douglas, the Development Director of the Internet Watch Foundation, believed that the portal would be a milestone to protect child online. “Protection of the child from abuse in an online platform is a susceptible and serious issue, and we need a wider collaboration to address this issue,” she said. She also expressed the trust on the collaboration with local stakeholder to launch the Portal.
Babu Ram Aryal, Founder/Executive Director of Forum for Digital Equality briefed the use of portal and technicality of the entrance. He also shared other features of the portal. “The portal will provide technical, legal, psyco-social counseling and litigation support along with capacity building, advocacy and media content for the safety of child online,” he added.
The joint secretary of the Ministry of Communication and Information Technology, Mr. Birendra Kumar Mishra during the soft launch said that the risk factors have increased with the development of information technology. He expressed that the portal will be a crucial contributor to eliminate the child abuse online and the government is always positive to collaborate and support with community stakeholders in such initiatives. Similarly, Purushottam Khanal, acting chairperson of Nepal Telecommunication Authority said that they would play the assistive role to the sustainability of the enterprise.
Since the abuse of Children on the internet is the subject of zero tolerance, Bhoj Raj Bhatta, the President of ISP Association of Nepal expressed commitment of remove any content within the scope of the local legal framework.
Similarly, the joint Director of Cyber Bureau, Nepal Police, Navinda Aryal shared that various reports indicate online child abuse is increasing and need special attention. He also believed that this portal would be very helpful to law enforcement agencies to combat this menace. He asked the stakeholders, referring a few other tools, to come together for the success to the cause instead of having multiple initiatives.
Former Chair of Child NGO Federation Senior Advocate Upendra Keshari Neupane urged all the stakeholders to contribute towards making the Internet safe and a platform of learning for kids. Senior Director of Nepal Telecommunication Authority Ananda Raj Khanal, Krishna Chandra Acharya of National Child Protection Alliance, Chairman of Sancharika Samuha Nitu Pandit, Co-chair of Alliance Against Trafficking in Women and Children in Nepal, Binu Maya Gurung expressed their commitment to cooperate from their sector to achieve the objectives set forth by this initiative.
Santosh Sigdel, the President of Internet Society Nepal, thanked all the stakeholder for their valuable commitment for the successful implementation of the initiative. The program was chaired by Eswari Prasad Sharma, the President of Forum for Digital Equality.