The time has come for a nationwide campaign to protect our children from being exposed to an onslaught of freely available stream of pornography from the internet. Explicit and often degrading sexual content are easily obtainable at the touch of the button on a Smartphone or a laptop. There is evidence that demonstrates that many children become addicted to these sites. Our children need to be shielded before it is too late. Cases of sexual abuse that land on my desk involving children are rife with examples of the child being exposed to hardcore pornography downloaded from the net.
I am not aware whether there are statistics available of how often those websites are sought by Mauritians. I am not aware whether we as a nation, we are concerned that the exposure of our children to these websites are likely to affect their natural sexual development or that they may end up becoming sexually depraved teenagers. I am not aware how much of the Mauritian currency is used to pay pornographic sites. But I know that we cannot wait any longer before, we as a nation, take concerted action.
Many countries have done it. The Mauritian Internet service provider must block those sites or make them as inaccessible as possible to internet users. Arguably, a balance ought to be struck between our rights to shield our children from internet filth and the rights of adults to privacy. This can be done. Adults may be given a special password for certain prohibited sites which shall be totally out of reach for children. One of the proposals un-der study in the UK is to impose a duty on banks to screen the identity of subscribers to these sites to ensure that the subscriber is indeed an adult before any payment can be effected to the foreign company selling the obscene material. It is an attractive idea. Let us hope that it gathers momentum. In the meantime, we have to act fast.
Satyajit Boolell, SC