The approval was pronounced at a plenary sitting at the National Assembly under law No 2036/PJL/AN after its defense by the MINPOSTEL boss on June 21, 2023.
The draft law on the charter of Child Online Protection was adopted by members of the Lower House of Assembly under law N° 2036/PJL/AN. The law aims at regulating the safety of the child on the cyberspace in Cameroon. The approval of the 49 articles constituting the charter was pronounced by Hon. Hilarion Etong, First Deputy President of the National Assembly at a plenary sitting with the legislatures on June 21, 2023 at the Yaounde Conference Centre.
The said project will ameliorate the institutional framework by reinforcing the authority of regulators and actors of the telecommunications sector. It defines amongst others, a plan of action for the protection of children online, a sensitization plan for children, control mechanisms to protect children online, the responsibilities and obligations of content providers and all stakeholders in the cyberspace in line with child online protection, the administrative and penal sanctions to be meted on defaulters.
The text that was elaborated in collaboration with all the sectors and the concerned administrations makes provision for a National Plan to guarantee its effectiveness. This constitutes developing a training curriculum on the responsible use of social media and sensitization on digital identity to be taught from the primary school level. Also, access to internet will be suspended to any consumer who posts materials tempering with the dignity and integrity of the child. Parents are called to play a frontline role by installing a parental control application in their exploitation systems that will be developed for this purpose.
It was an accomplished and satisfied Minister who left the National Assembly with her law in her pocket. “Cameroon now plays a leading role in Africa. The law will help to protect children online because despite the challenges that come with the rapid development of digital economy, we are still called to be connected and benefit from e-education and the likes. If our children are not protected, then our future is compromised”, she said. She made this clarion call on the citizens: “I implore everyone to diligently read this law for none is ignorant before the law”, she concluded.
Unlike the Cultural Affairs Commission at the National Assembly who mostly questioned the efficiency of the mechanisms mentioned in addressing the problem of child online protection on June 12, 2023, the general body was rather on the soliciting end. For example, making the law general and not specifically for children below eighteen years (18) considering that even adults are victims of online threats. They equally expressed the need for a digital rights bill addressing privacy and data protection issues and also instructed the Government to make great use of the approved law in bringing defaulters to book. These requests, the Minister reassured were already given high reflection and consideration.