‘India can help make cyber world level playing field’

New Delhi, Oct 20 (IANS) Being a regional power that has huge internet consumer base, India can play a key role in ushering a “democratic” cyber space, a senior Swedish official has said.

According to Maja Fjaestad, state Secretary to Minister for Strategic Development and Nordic Cooperation of Sweden, issues like cyber bullying and harassment of women subscribers were universal and India should pro-actively participate in addressing these issues.

“The problems and issues faced by female internet users in Sweden are the same as faced by female users here in India. We have been raising these issues but if India too pushes them, it would mean a lot,” Fjaestad, who calls herself a cyber feminist, told IANS on the sidelines of a conference here.

Cyberspace is home to almost the same percentage of women (47 percent) as men (53 percent), but women are twice as likely to face sexual harassment online.

As the online and offline environments are fundamentally intertwined, gender-based power structures have real-world implications regardless of platform.

According to Fjaestad, in countries with a rapidly growing internet user base, governments, businesses and civil societies should devise strategies to effectively address cyber bullying and gender based violence.

On the issue of net neutrality, Fjaestad said her country was for net neutrality. “If information has to be prioritised at all, it should be on the basis of purpose, not for the sake of money,” she said.

Fjaestad said Sweden was also seeking greater cooperation with India on other fronts including trade as there was “so much common interest” involved.

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