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Cameroon:Stakeholders intensify fight against hate speech online

Participants at the Antic seminar in Bafoussam (c) All rights reserved

 “You can’t post or comment for 24 hours,” a notification pops up on the phone of Carine B, as she attempt to navigate through Facebook.

All attempts to navigate through the social media site are futile as she will have to respect the sanction imposed on her by Facebook.

“You previously posted something that didn’t follow our community standards. This post   post goes against our standard on hate speech so no one else can see it,” she is further informed by the Facebook notification.

She was part of a heated debate in popular Facebook group before unleashing a comment which attacked the sexuality and personality of a male participant in the group, prompting Facebook to slam the 24-hour suspension.

Like Carine, several Facebook users have seen their accounts suspended for a perceived propagation of hate speech.

The sanction has even extended to broader communities on the platform with the popular group “Le Cameroun C’est Le Cameroun” (which has over 220, 000 members nationwide) suspended for 24 hours on July 24 before the group was reinstated.

The propagation of hate speech on social media as well as other cybercrimes has been a major concern. On August 12, the Minister of Post and Telecommunication Minette Libom Li Likeng launched a national campaign for the proper use of social media and the promotion of cyber security.

Earlier last week, the National Commission on the Promotion of Bilingualism and Multiculturalism equally pledged to contribute in the fight to stamp out hate speech in the community.

“…the Commission is committed to actively contribute in stamping out identity introversion and hate speech, now punishable by law, as well as minority, tribal and ethnic claims which are incompatible with the achievements of national unity,” the NCPBM said in a release last week.

Civil society groups equally met in a forum last week to look at ways of curbing hate speech and promoting best practices on social media.

All these add to the numerous on and offline campaigns that have been carried out by the National Agency for Information and Communication Technologies, ANTIC.

Published on 28.04.2020

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