MORE INTERNET REGULATION IN THE GAMBIA
PURA CONVENES FORUM WITH INTERNET CAFE OPERATORS
The Public Utilities Regulatory Authority (PURA) on Tuesday (September 10, 2013) convened a one-day workshop to discuss the operation of internet or cyber cafes in the country.
The forum, organised in collaboration with the Ministry of Information and Communication Infrastructure (MOICT), was held at the Paradise Suites Hotel in Kololi.
The forum was held to update all stakeholders including internet café owners and operators on the requirement for registration of all Internet cafes in The Gambia.
The forum discussed among other issues the protection of minors using internet cafes, registration procedures and internet café operation guidelines, internet service providers guidelines, use of voice over internet protocol (VoIP) with internet cafes and new broadband service following the ACE landing cable.
Delivering his opening remarks at the vent, Abdoulie Jobe, director general of PURA, said the event was what they referred to as the 1st National Consultative Forum on Internet cafes.
Director Jobe went further to explain that the legal, technical and institutional challenges posed by the issue of cyber security are global and far-reaching and can only be addressed through a coherent strategy taking into account the role of all actors, within a framework of a collaborative network.
The realization of Vision 2020, therefore, is anchored upon maximizing the catalytic role of ICT in socio-economic development, he said.
According to him, information and communication technology has become a strategic resource and the foundation of most economic activity both at an individual and institutional level.
“It is amazing how ICT has transformed our lives in the last decade. Ten, twenty years ago no one would have envisioned the level of advancement we are witnessing in ITC across the globe and The Gambia is no exception,” remarked Mr Jobe.
He added: “In governance we are witnessing citizen participation on national issues at levels never witnessed before.
“Technology, therefore, has torn down geographical and spatial boundaries; we have all become global citizens.”
Director Jobe added that the benefits of this paradigm have opened up new avenues to eradicate poverty, promote sustainable human development, and induce accelerated economic growth, and invariably increase the efficiency of ITC services in general.
Solo Sima, director of Consumer Affairs of PURA, for his part, thanked all the participants who attended the forum.
He noted that the workshop was very important to the stakeholders, particularly to those operating internet or cyber cafes in the country.
Ebrima Jobe expressed similar sentiments on behalf of the director of ICT at the Ministry of Information and Communication Infrastructure
Author: Njie Baldeh, The Point Newspaper. Gambia
INTERNET DATING SERVICES PROHIBITED
The Public Utilities Regulatory Authority (PURA) has issued a press release prohibiting companies and/or individuals operating through Internet Cafes and offering Dating services and Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) services as a commercially available service to the public in The Gambia.
The release reads:
The Public Utilities Regulatory Authority (PURA) wishes to inform the general public that it has come to its notice that there are companies and/or individuals operating through Internet Cafes and offering Dating services and Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) services as a commercially available service to the public in The Gambia. Therefore, all are hereby informed that such practices are not authorized.
Furthermore, PURA wishes to make it abundantly clear that the offering of “International and National Calling Services” within Internet Cafes using VoIP services (Viber, Skype, etc) is strictly prohibited. Anyone who is engaged in this activity is depriving the country of the much needed revenue from International and National calls, required for the development of The Gambia.
PURA would like to warn anybody involved in either of the above activities to immediately desist from doing so.
In a bid to protect our national interest, PURA is urging the general public to be vigilant with regards to the above, and to report any suspicious activities to PURA by calling 148 free on all networks, between 8.30am to 6.00pm (Mondays to Thursdays).
Author: Daily Observer, April 19, 2013
GAMBIA GOVERNMENT SAYS VOIP NOT BANNED, BLAMES MEDIA FOR "MISCONSTRUCTION"
Following the release of a press statement prohibiting the use of voice over internet protocol (VOIP) services in internet cafes, the Gambian government has issued another statement saying citizens can continue using the services and blamed the media for ‘misconstruction’ of the release.
The Ministry of Information and Communication Infrastructure said: “The Government of The Gambia is calling on citizens of The Gambia to continue to enjoy Skype to reach their loved ones at home and abroad.
“Contrary to local press and cyber publications that the Public Utilities Regulatory Authority (PURA) has banned the use of Skype and Viber facilities in The Gambia, the Ministry of Information and Communication Infrastructure has described the claim as a complete misconstruction of the press release communicated by PURA in the regulator’s bid to stop the massive loss of revenue to registered internet suppliers by the criminal unscrupulous individuals who use and Internet cafes that charge the unwitting public for international calls.”
The ministry added that restriction will protect consumers and national interest, and PURA “found it necessary to draw the attention of all operators of Internet cafes of the criminal act that deprives registered internet service providers of revenue vital to their operations and to the revenue of the national treasury.”
The statement also said PURA and other government agencies are investigating these individuals and cafe owners in order to place measure and protect young users from “pornographic sites, paedophilia, child-trafficking and sex tourism.
Author: Bubacarr Sow, The Dispatch