Fiji is Vulnerable to Cyber-attacks and Harmful Online Activities – Speaker of the Fijian Parliament

Fiji, like many other developing countries is vulnerable to cyber-attacks and harmful online activities such as cyber bullying, harassment, stalking and use of the internet for criminal ends. We all agree that cybercrime is one of the biggest threats to security, public safety and economic development.

These were the comments by the Speaker of Parliament the Hon. Ratu Naiqama Lalabalavu whilst opening the two-days Regional Pacific Islands Parliamentary Workshop on Cybercrime.

“There is no doubt that a significant part of our lives from financial services, health to education; and even Parliamentarian’s lives are increasingly dependent on online or electronic modes of communications and transactions.”

“Today, as we swipe that ATM card or fill in an online form with personal information, we should ask ourselves constantly – how safe are we?”

He stressed that Members of Parliament play a pivotal role in developing legislative and institutional cyber security frameworks, as well as guaranteeing that principles of good governance apply in cybersecurity.

“Members of Parliament have the power to convene different stakeholders for policy discussions ensuring comprehensive and multi-stakeholder governance models – a very pertinent component of cybersecurity.”

“As advocates and law makers, Parliamentarians can advocate for the ratification and accession of international treaties which promote cybersecurity as well as the domestication and implementation of cybersecurity legislation in their respective countries to give effect to the obligations they assume under such international treaties. Parliamentarians also have ample opportunity in this sphere to encourage their respective Governments to support, draft and ensure the passage of requisite implementing legislation.”

Speaker of Kiribati’s House of Assembly Mrs Tangariki Reete shared their progress on the ratification of the Budapest Convention on Cybercrime.

“The Ministry of Information and Communications consistently conduct awareness programmes on ‘staying safe’ on the internet nationwide.  This programme starts in schools, communities and outer islands and the goal is to educate the public on various aspects related to cybercrime and how to protect themselves online.”

“It also focuses on emerging trending issues on the internet such as scams and frauds commonly propagated through social media platforms.”

The first Deputy Speaker of the Parliament of Vanuatu the Hon. Andrew Solomon Napuat said that Vanuatu is not new to cybercrime activities as there was a cyber-attack on their whole-of-Government network in 2022.

“We have the ratification Bill listed for the upcoming Parliament sitting and I hope to gather more information and discussions from this workshop to share with Members of Parliament in our efforts to addressing cybercrime in Vanuatu.”

The programme ends today with presentations from the Secretary-General for the Pacific Islands Forum H.E Henry Puna, the First Deputy Speaker of the Parliament of Vanuatu the Hon. Andrew Solomon Napuat, the Deputy Speaker from the Parliament of New Zealand the Hon. Barbara Kuriger and the Assistant CEO in Samoa’s Ministry of Communications, Information and Technology Misa Victoria Lepou. There will also be discussions and adoption of a Plan of Action.