In February 2021, eSafety and the Fiji Online Safety Commission announced a world-first online safety regulator partnership.
Following this announcement, I was delighted to again meet with Anne Dunn-Baleilevuka, Fiji’s Online Safety Commissioner, to celebrate our ground-breaking partnership.
As is the custom these days, we met virtually, and we are happy to provide you a window into our discussion.
It was fantastic to speak with Anne about the important work both our agencies engage in and the value it provides to our respective communities. Australia and Fiji are natural partners under the Vuvale Partnership, and we feel fortunate to have such a strong ally in Fiji.
As the world’s first online safety regulators, we share a strong commitment to helping create safer online environments for our people and our region, and we take these responsibilities very seriously. After years of going it alone, it’s incredibly refreshing for eSafety to have a sister agency to collaborate with, share challenges and lessons with, and a partner to advance online safety across the Pacific region.
Our collective work involves fostering more positive online experiences, focusing on supporting diverse and remote communities and reaching the most at-risk people. Our agencies will use the combined tools at our disposal, whether it’s robust research and data collection, best practice advice, key information guides or building stakeholder connections to achieve our objectives. We hope that together, our work will set an example for other jurisdictions to follow.
It is a privilege to be partnering with a close neighbour for our first formal regulatory partnership, supported by DFAT’s Cyber and Critical Tech Cooperation Program. Internet access and usage is growing rapidly in Pacific island nations, with significant numbers of people gaining access to the benefits this connectivity provides. As a result, governments are paying greater attention to the policy and legal requirements of the digital environment – which for eSafety means embedding and prioritising safety as this infrastructure develops.
It’s promising to see so much attention on how technology is influencing our lives – for better or for worse. Certainly, the global spotlight is firmly focused on online safety and we have been eagerly watching the development of laws and regulation in other countries. More importantly, we are considering what solutions can be put in place to ensure that everyone can thrive and flourish in a safer, more inclusive, online world.
Governments around the world are now clearly focused on regulating for a range of online harms, not only must we seek consistency in these global rules, we need to take care to preserve an open and free digital environment. We know online harms are not bound by national borders and these issues require governments and industry working together towards a shared vision.
The Vuvale Partnership is founded on the idea of family — that, “my home is your home.” Together, with the Fiji Online Safety Commission, we are focused on making our collective online ‘home’ across the Pacific is the safest place it can be.
Learn more about eSafety's International leadership and collaboration here.