Weekly Island Round-Up - 19 Apr 2021
Here are 3 things happening in Mauritius this week!
1) Mauritius proposing amendments to the ICT act, which will allow officials to access individual’s social media to curtail “abuse and misuse”. The vagueness of the proposal is being seen as restrictive to Mauritian’s freedom of speech.
The Information and Communication Technologies Authority (ICTA) in Mauritius are inviting the public to comment on a proposal to make changes to the ICT Act, which will allow officials the power to censor people’s social media in Mauritius.
If it goes ahead, the changes to the Act will essentially allow social media internet traffic to be ‘decrypted’ to see what it contains (including protected data like usernames and passwords). It then makes a copy to be archived in for “inspection purposes” and censored if it’s deemed inappropriate, with fines and the threat of 10 years imprisonment for “offenders”.
However, the vagueness of the proposal is being seen as restrictive to Mauritian’s freedom of speech and democracy.
You can read the proposals here: Consultation Paper
You can sign the petition against this here: https://www.change.org/p/the-information-and-communication-technologies-authority-mauritius-reject-the-proposed-amendments-to-the-ict-act-dated-14-04-2021
Members of the public are invited to submit their views on the case to the email address firstname.lastname@example.org no later than May 5, 2021 at 4 p.m.
2) Caritas Ile Maurice, one of the country’s main NGOs, helped over 17,500 of those most in need with food packs, vouchers and children’s school meals during the Covid-19 crisis
The Covid-19 pandemic plunged many Mauritian families into further poverty between April 2020 and April 2021 as many found themselves out of work.
On May 11, 2020, Caritas Ile Maurice responded to the National Covid Fund (NCF) call for projects by submitting a vast Food Aid Program, a project supported by the association's large network of volunteers and social workers. , deployed in 52 Caritas points / centers on the island, to reach the main pockets of poverty ”, indicates the NGO in its press release.
The Caritas Food Aid Program revolves around two components, direct food aid, through the distribution of Food Packs / Vouchers during confinement and school meals to children and an agricultural development project to help families to support their own needs. 17,500 people benefitted from this program.
3) A ‘Google Loon’ (A project by Google to launch internet balloons to improve connectivity in remote places) almost prevents plane repatriating 68 Rodriguans from landing. 443 Rodriguans have been stranded in Mauritius since the lockdown was announced.
After weeks being stuck in Mauritius due to another lockdown, 68 out of 443 Rodriguans were finally being allowed to return home, with a flight organised to repatriate them back to their island.
However, upon landing, a ‘Google Loon’ (A project by Google to launch internet balloons to improve connectivity in remote places) over Plaine Corail airport in Rodrigues prevented the plane from landing, and forced it to turn back to Mauritius.
However, 5 hours after it was due to land, the runway was cleared and the Rodriguans were finally allowed to return home. 375 are still waiting to do the same.