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de Brún supports EU internet safety programme

2 December, 2004

Sinn Féin MEP Bairbre de Brún today voted in favour of a report calling for the EU to play a greater role in promoting safe use of the internet. The report, presented by Dutch MEP Edith Mastenbrooek was the outcome of discussions at the Civil Liberties committee on the proposal to establish a EU wide programme on promoting safer use of the Internet and new online technologies. The programme would focus particularly on issues of child pornography and racism.

Speaking after the vote Ms de Brún said:

"Internet access and use of new technologies such as mobile phones across the EU continues to grow at a rapid rate. The opportunities, which accompany the proliferation of these technologies, in education and business particularly, must be welcomed. These technologies also provide a great boost to free speech and independent discussion and debate fora.

"However there are also clearly dangers associated with the use of these technologies to transmit unwanted and indeed illegal material. Of particular concern is the danger posed by the child pornography business. The nature of internet and mobile phone technology makes these global issues, which need a global response.

"I wholeheartedly endorse the proposals outlined in Ms Mastenbrooek's report which was presented to the European Parliament today. Promoting awareness and understanding of the law is important in dealing with these issues. So too is developing greater filtering technology.

"The resourcing of awareness centres to deal with public concerns is a vital element in giving these proposals a real presence within member states.

"At a time when racist attacks are on the increase across Ireland, and children's rights campaigners are highlighting the issues of sexual and physical abuse against children, it incumbent on the EU and national governments to support and resource the proposals outlined in Ms Mastenbrooek's report.

"Sinn Féin is conscious that there are those who want to restrict the use of internet technologies to clamp down on free speech and Sinn Féin shares those concerns. This report however is about protecting children and combating racism and other forms of hate speech. That is something which our party strongly supports.‚"ENDS

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