Georgia has self-regulated Internet space, free of censorship and restrictions. The country has viable cyber security level with a high level of freedom of speech and expression, intellectual property and copyrights are protected. The Internet space policy is designed for stimulation of development and democratic initiatives.
However, it should be also noted that regulation of contents with pornographic materials, abusive forms, coercion and other harmful information create one of the serious challenges in the internet space of Georgia. Since the internet space content is public and attainable everywhere, the mentioned factor creates particular problems for children.
The reality shows that it is impossible to protect children from harmful content in the internet space. Naturally, the mentioned factor makes negative influence on shaping healthy society.
In general, the harmful content may be represented by websites, social networks, entertaining web pages (cartoons, games). Audiovisual content is particularly popular. The more time children spenდ on audiovisual websites with harmful content, the risks of harmful influence on children grows more.
It is of crucial importance to note that even the young generation feels that the current information policy is unacceptable.
Therefore, for the purpose of protection of children interests, we should carry out such prevention measures as:
- Detection and filtration of pornographic materials and perceptible «logotypes”.
- Based on cooperation between public schools, parents and internet providers, detection and filtration of harmful comments;
- Making cyber raids for detection of harmful content and unhealthy propaganda networks;
- Protection of children from harmful and aggressive content should be the responsibility of the Authorities and private organizations (internet providers);
- Prevention should be carried out by technical and software measures, informative policy and system approaches.
It should be stressed that amid required prevention measure, for the purpose of protection of adolescents:
- Measures against harmful content must include not blocking the whole website, but removing a specific content (naturally, if the whole website does not contain harmful content);
- Filtration of harmful content must be carried out under legislation;
- In case of detection of harmful content in computer, notifications by citizens should be stored at databases of internet providers and law enforcement bodies;
- Prevention measures should not imply Internet censorship;
- Prevention measures should not be subjected to system censorship and political background;
- In the new internet space, adult content should not be attainable for adolescents;
It should be noted that the website blocking is an issue of disputable censorship. Therefore, we need legislative regulations and prevention measures within international cooperation format.
Consequently, prevention measures will not make «influence» on the internet market development. At the same time, any filtration measure should not be «invisible» for democracy.
Finally, I would like to note that Georgia requires digital reforms to attain shaping autonomous and healthy internet environment.
Rati Abuladze, Doctor of Economics,
Founder of E-governance Research Academy