The Minister for Communications, Mrs Ursula Owusu-Ekuful, has disclosed that, government is preparing a legislation to protect and sanitise the cyber space against criminal acts and abuses.
She indicated that, the new safeguard measure is aimed at protecting children against cyber crime.
Mrs Owusu-Ekuful, made the disclosure at
the climax of the second National Girls in ICT Day which on Monday 27th May, 2019, in Takoradi on the theme ‘Expanding horizons, changing attitudes.”
The event was coordinated by the Ministry of Communications in collaboration with Ghana Investment Fund For Electronic Communications (GIFEC) and with supports from the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) and the Western Regional Coordinating Council (WRCC).
It was attended by 650 JHS girls from nine districts of the Western Region, and also provided a two-week ICT training and mentorship for the participants.
Sixty students who performed well during the event, received lap top computers donated by MTN Ghana while the first 10 best also got internet modems with free one year data bundle.
Mrs Owusu-Ekuful, declared: “Government is introducing a Cyber security Bill with provisions on Child Online Protection (COP), to ensure that offenders of revenge pornography( that is acts of distributing sexually explicit images or videos without the consent of parties) will be prosecuted.
The National Cyber Security Centre is currently reviewing the framework on COP and this includes a comprehensive implementation roadmap aimed at protecting our children online.”
She added that, the ministry would in the next weeks also launch a cyber crime/security incident reporting point of contacts to provide channels including online portals, hotlines, SMS line and a dedicated apps. She also added that, the Ghana Police Service together with the telecommunication industry and the Internet Watch Foundation, would also ensure the proper handling of crime committed online.
She spoke about the critical role ICT could play in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGS) by 2030 and also eradicating poverty. She then bemoaned that, this could not be achieved if the non-inclusion of women and girls in the sector was not addressed.
Mrs Owusu-Ekuful, therefore noted that, one way to reduce the disparities in the ICT world was to reduce the misconceptions including the thoughts that ICT requires mathematics skills and that people in the industry did not have social life. Saying, “don’t let anyone put you down and say you are a girl, you can do it if you stay focused and worked hard.”
A Deputy Minister for Education, Gifty Twum Ampofo, who noted that ICT played an important role in the life of society including industrialisation, agriculture and even international travels, believed that Africa needed to overcome the challenges in ICT especially in the 21st century.
“Do not let anyone tell you ICT is a study for boys. I urge you never to take NO for an answer. Many women have gone before you and have succeeded in science, technology and engineering subjects. Be inspired by their achievements.” she urged the girls.
The Western Regional Minister, Kwabena Okyere Darko-Mensah, on his part, expressed joy that girls were highly motivated to pursue careers in ICT after listening to some female achievers in the field. “I will therefore, personally ensure that this becomes a deliverable responsibility to be reported upon annually by the assemblies and the Regional Education Directorate. I strongly urged our females students to take ICT serious in the educational endeavours because the world is now in the digital epoch.” he pledged.
The Omanhene of Essikado, Nana Kobina Nketsia V, who chaired the event, urged the girls to be critical thinkers and use the web to build their future, adding that it was important for women to take the charge, lead and build the African society, which has been ‘messed up’ by men.
“With women conscious efforts, Ghana and Africa will not be where it is today. You must rewrite the history of Africa, but, you can only do it if you have an expanded horizon. You need to write your own stories through the web. Create your own cyber web, but, be critical and ask questions. Whoever controls your image controls you. The future lies in the web” he said.
Meanwhile, it was announced at the event that, Central Region will be hosting the next event come December 2019.