Kingdom of Bahrain Leads Gulf’s Drive for Child Safety on the Internet

Washington DC – December 14, 2009 - Yesterday, the Telecommunications Regulatory Authority of the Kingdom of Bahrain (TRA), in partnership with the Family Online Safety Institute, announced the Gulf regions first Internet Child Safety Conference. To be held from 18-20 January, 2010, at the Crowne Plaza Hotel, Manama in the Kingdom of Bahrain, the conference is open to anyone with an interest in the safety of children on the web, including Internet Service Providers, telephone companies, NGOs, charities, regulators, government departments and the public. The event aims to discuss global internet safety best practice and the key online child protection initiatives of the past few years, as well as investigating the suitability for implementation in the Kingdom and across the wider Middle East.

“We are pleased to have attracted an outstanding selection of regional and globally recognized experts in the field of ICT literacy, safety and security, to this ground-breaking conference,” said Dr. Mohammed Al Amer, Chairman and acting General Director of the Telecommunications Regulatory Authority of Bahrain. “It ensures that our ICT strategy will be better informed and reflect International best practice.”

The conference seeks to examine initiatives that are already active across the world, to understand what can be achieved and, where relevant, implement those systems and processes in the Kingdom. This can’t be done without the buy-in and cooperation of all stakeholders, including industry and NGOs. The conference is being held to show organizations how they can help in making this happen.

“The Family Online Safety Institute is proud to be partnering with the Telecommunications Regulatory Authority of the Kingdom of Bahrain in its efforts to find a national consensus for online safety,” said David Miles, FOSI Director for Europe, Middle East and Africa. “Its leadership role will no doubt influence the Gulf region as a whole and reflects the breadth, depth and high quality of its ICT strategy.”

There will be several significant announcements made at the conference, including one around the TRA’s review of the systems that are in place to help protect the Kingdom’s children online. This will not just focus on children’s use of the internet, but the whole support infrastructure around its use and abuse, and what happens when things go wrong.

At the closing ceremony on January 20, 2010, TRA will ask the Kingdom’s Internet Service Providers to sign a Memorandum of Understanding that will facilitate the implementation of the conference’s recommendations and foster a new era in ICT and child internet safety in Bahrain. TRA’s goal is to ensure this conference is the one that everyone remembers as the spark that triggered the online safety and Corporate Social Responsibility revolution in the Middle East.

For further details and to see the agenda, please visit conference website at http://www.tra.org.bh/onlinesafety/. For more information on FOSI, visit www.fosi.org, the FOSI YouTube Channel, Facebook and Twitter.

About FOSI

The Family Online Safety Institute (FOSI) works to make the online world safer for kids and their families by identifying and promoting best practices, tools and methods that also respect free speech. FOSI’s members include: AOL, AT&T, Blue Coat Systems, BT Retail, Comcast, CompTIA, Facebook, France Telecom, Google, GSM Association, Kingston Communications, Loopt, Microsoft, MySpace, NCTA, Ning, Nominum, Optenet, Privo, RuleSpace, Sprint, StreamShield, Symantec, Telefónica, TELMEX, The Wireless Foundation, Verizon, Yahoo. FOSI hosts an annual international conference to bring together Internet safety advocates from a variety of sectors, including global corporations, government, non-profits, academia and the media, to discuss the current pulse of online safety and emerging solutions that will enhance it. For more information, please visit www.fosi.org.