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Beyond banning pornography – Part 2

By Sonnie Ekwowusi
15 July 2022   |   1:54 am
The BBNaija porn was banned in Nigeria as far back as 2007 yet the porn is still being aired today on almost all the media and platforms in Nigeria including Nigerian TV.

Pornography

The BBNaija porn was banned in Nigeria as far back as 2007 yet the porn is still being aired today on almost all the media and platforms in Nigeria including Nigerian TV. Nigeria remains one of the few countries in the world whose soil serves as a dumping ground for all sorts of fakeries and hazardous things.  The Nigerian market is littered with adulterated drugs, pesticides, obsolete computers, hazardous already-used UK mobile phones, fake batteries, fake tyres, fake biros, fake building materials, fake “pure” water and so forth.

I have given the NCC the following advice in the past and I feel obliged today to give them the same advice if they would listen to me. Borrowing the Internet Censorship practices in the United Kingdom, Russia, India, China and other countries, the NCC should commence the Internet Protocol (IP) blocking, Domain Name Servers (DNS) filtering and redirection, Uniform Resource Locator (URL) filtering, Packet filtering, Man-in-the middle attack, Transmission Control Protocol (TCP) reset in Nigeria. As done abroad, the NCC should create censorship watchdogs. Such watchdogs, comprising, maybe NGOs or members of civil society, shall be responsible for alerting the NCC when porn or any other objectionable content is intercepted.

The watch dogs should be in charge of preparing a comprehensive list of IP addresses to be blocked or blacklisted for non-compliance with NCC directives. As practiced in most countries now, the NCC should get the ISPs to filter away porn from the internet as well as information on the Internet promoting unlawful conducts such as economic fraud or encouraging children to commit suicide or acts endangering their lives or information inciting ethnic violence, or incitement political secession or promoting drug addiction, bestiality, homosexual and lesbian lifestyles or information promoting terrorism or banditry or kidnapping. The citizens should be encouraged to send grievances and complaints to the NCC on the aforesaid crimes.

In essence, the NCC should adopt the internet filtering methods practised in other countries. For example, former British Prime Minister David Cameron had marked out concrete ways to block access to online pornography in the United Kingdom. Cameron had repeatedly warned the British public that internet pornography is capable of “corroding childhood”. “In a really big step forward, all the Internet Service Providers (ISPs) have re-wired their technology so that once your filters are installed, they cover any device connected to your home internet account”, said Cameron. In copying the good example of the United Kingdom in this matter, all Nigeria ISPs should be made to rewire their technology so that once filters are installed, it will cover any device connected to home internet accounts. Kamlesh Vaswani, the lawyer who pushed for the ban on internet sites hosting pornography in India, said that online pornography has a direct co-relation with crimes against children and women. According to him, “watching porn itself puts the country’s security in danger, encourages violent acts, unacceptable behaviour in society, exploitation of children and lowers the dignity of women’’.

China’s internet filtering methods are very wide and more extensive than in other countries. They include Internet Protocol (IP) blocking, Domain Name Servers (DNS) filtering and redirection, Uniform Resource Locator (URL) filtering, Packet filtering, Man-in-the middle attack, Transmission Control Protocol (TCP). In Russia, an internet user does not browse anything. Russia has what is called the blacklist laws. For example, in July 2012 the State of Duma enacted a law that calls for blacklisting of certain internet sites especially sites that promote drug addiction, porn addiction, suicide advocacy or sites with harmful contents against children.

 
Many lawsuits relating to colossal damage done to children online have arisen in the United States in recent years. One of such lawsuits is the famous case involving a teenager from California called Justin Berry. At 13, Justin Berry thought the internet was the best place for him to make friends but he ended up becoming a drug addict and sex addict that led to the ruin of his life. Testifying before members of the Congressional Panel, Justin said that they were many kids like him in the US who unknown to their parents had been ruined by online drug and sex addiction. That is why in many States in the US today it is illegal to post or text suggestive or sexually explicit images to minors. In fact, child pornography charges are being brought against internet users in the U.S. Also charges are brought against people in the U.S. for luring children into the online activity known as “sexting”. It is said that 1 out of every 5 children in the US has had sexual solicitation from the internet chat room. This explains why most U.S. parents are now being encouraged to be proactive in supervising how their children use the Internet.
 
I believe Nigeria can take the same safety measure as the U.S. It is sad that despite the fact that child pornography is outlawed in Nigeria, Nigerian minors are still having unimpeded access to pornography. This should stop. Nigerian parents are in a hurry to purchase mobile phones for their kids including kids in junior secondary school forgetting that they are exposing their kids to potential dangers. Nigerian parents should complement the work of NCC by supervising that their children stay away from browsing pornography on their phones.
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