Cameroon to jail trolls harassing children
A new law to protect children online in Cameroon, which will punish defaulters with imprisonment and monetary fines, will soon see the light of day.
The law came under scrutiny in parliament recently and is now awaiting adoption and promulgation into law.
The law provisions include compelling search engines to discontinue indexing content offensive to children.
It requires Internet Service Providers (ISPs) to provide guidelines on best practices in cyberspace, activities that undermine the dignity and integrity of children.
The law will also compel ISPs to set up mechanisms to report to the regulator content or behaviour that undermines children online.
ISPs, who, after becoming aware of content or behaviour that violates the dignity and integrity of children but fails to report to authorities, block or delete such content, could face up to $ 416,750 in fines.
Also, telecom operators who infringe the law could also see their operating licences withdrawn permanently or suspended for up to a year.
Once enacted, the law will also punish anyone who exposes children to harmful content online.
Minister of Posts and Telecoms Minette Libom Li Likeng told MPs: "Children do feature among the most active and most vulnerable cyberspace users, and are thus exposed to various scourges such as cyber harassment, bullying, personal data hacking and use, exposure to inappropriate content, radicalisation, sexual abuse and sexual exploitation, which are under-regulated."
The civil society has welcomed the bill. Non-government organisation Community Action Scheme Africa commented: “We appreciate the government of Cameroon, her partners and especially Minister Minette Libom for taking steps to protect children online in Cameroon through the establishment of an online child protection charter. Slowly but surely, we're getting there.”