MFWA Calls for Safer Internet in West Africa

On the occasion of this year’s Safer Internet Day, the Media Foundation for West Africa (MFWA) is calling on all stakeholders in West Africa to ensure the safer use of the internet for the betterment of society.

Even though the internet has come with innumerable economic, political, cultural and social benefits, the threats it presents to international peace, and the safety and security of individuals, nations, businesses and activists cannot be ignored.

It is, therefore, imperative for all stakeholder – government, technical community, businesses, civil society and end-users – to play their respective roles to ensure that the internet is safe for all including vulnerable groups such as children. As the theme for this year’s celebrations suggests – Let’s Create A Better Internet Together!

The MFWA therefore calls on the respective national Computer Emergency Response Teams (CERT) in the region to proactively work to combat cybercrimes and fraud to create a safe cyber environment for business, academic, political and social interactions to thrive on the internet.

“We also encourage the various CERTs in the region to heighten public awareness about their activities and empower citizens against internet security risks such as email hacking, identity theft and online fraud,” a Programme Officer of the MFWA, Dora B. Mawutor said.

Governments are also encouraged to integrate online safety issues in the curricula of the various basic schools (where they are currently absent) to ensure the safety and wellbeing of children and young people in the online world. As already being implemented in some African countries such as Uganda, child online safety toolkits can be developed for the various formal and informal educational setups.

Parents, guardians and teachers must sensitise their children about online safety and possible consequences of inappropriate use of the internet.

The media and civil society organisations must also step-up advocacy and awareness creation activities about online safety.

“It is inexcusable for any West African to be oblivious of the security implications associated with this digital and technological era. The media must therefore live up to their foremost duty of enlightening the public,” Programme Officer of the MFWA, Dora B. Mawutor said.

Safer Internet Day is celebrated every year on the second day of the second week of the second month. For 2015, the Day is being marked today, February 10, 2014.

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