J.Initiative (JI) in partnership with World Vision International (WVI) have been championing the advocacy, development and implementation of policies that seek to protect children and young people online. Children face risks such as online grooming, inappropriate material, indecent/pornographic exposure, misguided advertising, online gambling, racism, to mention but a few.
The Government of Ghana in its recently read 2016 budget statement expressed its commitment to ensure that Child Online Protection (COP) is accorded priority attention in our schools and communities. Such a pronouncement is positive and its actualization, key to our success in winning the fight against threats that young people are exposed to and do encounter online.
We hope the various ministries and agencies mentioned: the Ghana Police Service, the Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection, and the National Communications Authority (NCA) in collaboration with the Ministry for Communications will be proactive and committed to the COP agenda to ensure the review of the existing Ghana ICT For Accelerated Development Policy (ICT4AD) to include COP and a National Strategy framework for COP in 2016.
It must be emphasized that government agencies alone cannot champion these efforts. This is where the need for greater collaboration with Civil Society Organizations like JI and World Vision is paramount. World Vision has been involved in developing similar policies in several countries and is happy to share with government the lessons of those initiatives.
It is our expectation that this high level official admission of the relevance of issues relating to COP brings renewed commitment of the Ghana Police Service, the Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection, the NCA and other key stakeholders. This should reflect the seriousness that the President of the Republic attaches to the COP issue, as presented in his Budget Statement for 2016.
Awo Aidam Amenyah
Accra, 16th November, 2016