MINISTER REVEALS FACEBOOK SUSPENSION WILL NOT GO AHEAD

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By Robert Luke Iroga

The government has made a major turn around on its threat to suspend Facebook with the responsible minister exclusively tells SBMOnline that “FB will now NOT be suspended”.

Minister Agovaka

“Facebook will not be suspended,” Minister of Communication and Aviation Peter Shanel Agovaka exclusively told SBMOnline today referring to the government’s decision to suspend the world’s biggest social network platform here.

This is a new twist— but hugely welcoming news to the general population, mostly FB users, who have been bitterly disappointed with the government’s decision to suspend Facebook. The government said then that the abuse of MPs’ and the bullying of other users on the social media platform as amongst the reasons for the proposed suspension.

But Agovaka told this magazine that the government would be working with Facebook’s Regional Office in the Pacific to address its concerns. A detail on how this will work is being worked on and to be released in the future.

But SBMOnline understands that the government or those responsible can advise Facebook to take appropriate action against posters or their pages or groups whose posts that are deemed as a threat, abusive or could cause disharmony amongst others.

Agovaka further confirms that in the meantime the government is working on Sim Card Registration Act. The Act will ensure that all mobile SIM cards are registered.

SBMOnline further understands that a Cyber Security Bill is another piece of law that the government is drafting. These acts will govern the use of the internet, Facebook included. There are currently no laws that govern the use of internet.

Asked why they have taken the softer approach, Agovaka said the government does not want to be seen as dictating the lives of its people –  adding that a lot of people too are using Facebook.

Mr Agovaka has already briefed Caucus yesterday about the latest decision by his ministry.

Meanwhile another government minister who was in yesterday’s Caucus confirmed to SBMOnline that the minister was correct and there will be no suspension.

“We all welcomed the news and we leave it for the appropriate ministry to deal with it,” the minister told SBMonline this afternoon.

The government on November announced that it was suspending Facebook for an indefinite period until appropriate legislations are put in place. There were fireworks in Parliament as most of those in government side had supported the proposed suspension and expressed their dismay at some of the users and revealed how they were abused in some of the FB Forums. Only a few in the Opposition had opposed to the proposed suspension.

The planned suspension had also attracted international disapproval and many had called on the government to reconsider the suspension.

The latest revelation is likely to put some smile on the faces of the Facebook users in the country and relatives and friends abroad.

Many locals had taken to the social media to express their anger against the government when the news first broke of a proposed ban on FB but then later downgraded to just suspension by the government.

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