Cyberbullying not "up there" with other crimes in Samoa

By Tina Mata'afa-Tufele 21 May 2020, 5:00AM

The Police Commissioner, Fuiavailili Egon Keil, says cyberbullying is an issue in Samoa but not one that is “up there” with domestic violence, robbery and other crimes.

Responding to questions from Samoa Observer following the launching of an anti-cyberbullying campaign, the nation’s top cop said crimes such as domestic violence and robbery are the main offences that the Police handle. 

“We don’t hear a lot of cases [of cyberbullying] but we’ve got lots of other cases, we’ve got domestic violence, we’ve got robbery, we’ve got all of that,” he said. “But cyberbullying is not one that jumps out. It’s an issue but it’s not an ‘up there’ issue.” 

The Samoa Observer sought the comments of the Police Commissioner, following the launching of “O a’u o le Toa” on Monday, which is an online anti-cyberbullying campaign led by local firm, Apelu Sports. 

In an interview with the Samoa Observer, Gabrielle Apelu, of Apelu Sports, said Samoa’s use of social media, specifically Facebook, has eclipsed that of the Pacific and the world.

“Unfortunately, having an online platform has allowed, encouraged and promoted many bullying (gender-based violence) behaviours against women and girls, children and those with disabilities to run rampant without anyone being held to account,” said Apelu, a former Manusina captain.

Fuiavailili is not aware of Apelu Sports’ anti-cyberbullying campaign. 

“We have a cyber thing [on] cyber safety every year where we bring the kids and we have programs and we talk about cyber. Also, we’ve got a community engagement unit that goes out to schools and talks about those things,” he said. “Also on the media too, we got people who go on the TV and go on the radio and talk about various issues including cyberbullying and cybersecurity.” 

Asked if cyberbullying is not “up there” because incidents are unreported, Fuiavailili said, “maybe.”

By Tina Mata'afa-Tufele 21 May 2020, 5:00AM

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