BBC 'SEXWISE' ADVICE WEBSITE PURGED AT UNIVERSITY OF THE SOUTH PACIFIC

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By Sione Mailei

SUVA, Fiji Islands (August 30, 1999 – Wansolwara/Pasifik Nius)---Cyberspace is being purged at the University of the South Pacific, reports the journalism training newspaper Wansolwara.

The BBC's new educational website Sexwise - offering advice for young people on sexual health - is among many "access denied" sites under the university's new policy clamping down on pornography.

Sexwise aims to eventually provide information on sexual health and rights in more than 40 languages on the British Broadcasting Corporation's World Service website, www.bbc.co.uk/worldservice/sexwise/

USP's Information Technology Services have introduced a website screening system which denies students and staff access to websites which contain certain keywords.

"Think of all the words that can be used in a pornographic site. They're on our list," said USP's webmaster Ragani Mudaliar.

Websites containing words such as "sex", "dirty" and "adult" brings up an "access denied" sign.

New keywords are added every day.

The BBC site is barred because it contains keywords on the list.

Pornographic sites are banned from USP use, not only because of "inappropriate content" but also for the time they take to load.

"We have received a number of complaints about pornographic sites being viewed in the library and some labs," said Ms. Mudaliar.

"We have also discovered that close to 25 percent of daily USP Internet users visit pornographic sites and, because we are an educational institution, we have decided not to encourage access to these sites."

Visiting porn sites slows down access for others using the Internet for research.

USP has a bandwidth of 64 kbs, costing about $100,000 a month. It was increased just last year from 19.2 kbs.

"Last year's increase was the reason why the Internet Café was opened in the Library for student use," said Ms. Mudaliar.

She agreed that some education sites were barred because of the screening system used.

"It is a downside of the keyword system but it is the only solution we have. The need to eliminate pornography outweighs the loss of some useful sites," said Ms. Mudaliar.

"We don't have the time to chase after pornography viewers. I would say we stop about 20 percent of pornographic sites being downloaded, which is more than enough," she added.

Title -- 2327 EDUCATION: BBC 'sexwise' advice website purged Date -- 30 August 1999 Byline -- Sione Mailei Origin -- Pasifik Nius Source -- Wansolwara, University of the South Pacific, 30/8/99 Copyright -- Journalism, USP Status -- Unabridged

This document is for educational and research use only. Recipients should seek permission from the copyright source before reprinting.

PASIFIK NIUS service is provided by the niusedita via the Journalism Program, University of the South Pacific. Please acknowledge Pasifik Nius:

niusedita@pactok.net.au http://www.usp.ac.fj/journ/nius/index.html

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