SOUTH AFRICA –MTN Group announced the launch of its Child Online Protection initiative by signing a partnership with the Internet Watch Foundation (IWF). This is in its continued effort to fight against the exploitation of children on the internet.

According to IOL Business report, MTN is the first Africa-wide Telecommunications Company to partner with the IWF.

The Child Online Protection programme is in line with the MTN “We’re good together” initiative that was launched in October aimed at demonstrating how, through partnerships they can help to accelerate digital inclusion for the good of society.

It said that their partnership with the IWF builds on their commitment to ensure the safety of children online.

Rob Shuter, MTN Group CEO and President, said; “As MTN is expanding the digital sphere, both on the continent and globally, it is important to us that we ensure that all who are touched by our products and services are impacted positively, including children.”

He added, “Online safety is a key concern for our business, it is for this reason that we have partnered with Internet Watch Foundation to create an online community that its safe and from which all users, of all ages, can benefit. 

“Through the partnership, we hope to play our part in the fight against the exploitation of children on the internet and educating children and young people about the safe and responsible usage of ICT.”

The membership agreement will offer support services from IWF to MTN. These include alerts to MTN Group if a domain under MTN’s control is found to host child sexual abuse content. Such domains will be blocked automatically.

Susie Hargreaves OBE, IWF CEO, said: “We’re delighted that MTN has chosen to demonstrate their commitment to a safer internet for everyone by becoming a member of the Internet Watch Foundation.

“As the largest mobile operator in Africa, MTN’s alliance with the IWF will significantly impact the spread of criminal imagery across the continent and further afield.”

Using IWF’s confidential reporting portal, MTN encourages its customers and members of the public to safely and anonymously report online Child Sexual Abuse Material (CSAM).

IWF will investigate all reports and work with country partner hotlines or international law enforcement agencies to ensure that confirmed cases of child sexual abuse content on the internet are removed at source.

They will also use their best endeavours to ensure that MTN’s third party content providers do not make CSAM available to their customers.

Providers that offer such content will be considered in breach of their contract, and their contracts will be terminated.