Cameroon has just taken an important step in the protection of children online with the promulgation of Law No. 2023/009 of July 28, 2023, on the charter for the protection of children online. This law, voted in the National Assembly, aims to guarantee secure access to the Internet for children under 18, as well as to raise awareness among those involved in protecting children against the dangers of cyberspace.
The legislation, drafted by the Ministry of Posts and Telecommunications in collaboration with other administrations, emphasizes several key aspects of protecting children online. Article 5 of the law aims to promote secure access to the Internet for the learning, development and fulfillment of children. It also emphasizes raising the awareness of actors involved in the protection of children against the harmful effects of the Internet, as well as taking into account the protection of children in the processing and dissemination of information by professionals of the Internet. ‘audio-visual.
The private sector is also called upon to respect the rights of children online. Businesses are urged to prevent and address child rights abuses related to their operations, products and services. In addition, private companies that offer or develop new technological products and services must help users, especially children, to understand how they work and to use these technologies appropriately.
The law also provides for severe penalties to prevent online abuse. Any individual who commits an act of indecent exposure to a child through electronic communications is liable to a prison sentence of 10 to 20 years, as well as a fine of 10 million CFA francs, according to section 44 of the law.
With regard to online advertising, specific provisions have been made to protect vulnerable children. These children must not be presented in the public space (cyberspace) unless there is a legitimate reason. In addition, online advertising must in no way exploit the inexperience or naivety of children.
Internet service providers, content providers and operators of information systems and social networks also play a crucial role in protecting children online. According to article 14 of the law, they are required to suspend access to the internet, to their digital content or to their social network at the request of the competent authorities, when the published content undermines the dignity and integrity children.
This law on the protection of children online in Cameroon is an essential step in cleaning up the Internet for the benefit of children and guaranteeing their safety online. It stresses the importance of raising awareness, prevention and the responsibility of all the players involved, both in the public and private sectors. Cameroon thus demonstrates its commitment to promoting a safe and caring online environment for children, paying particular attention to their right to protection and development in cyberspace.