The establishment and operations of Internet/Cyber Cafe' in the Gambia is now governed by detailed guidelines promulgated by the country's utilities regulatory body, PURA. "In exercise of the powers conferred upon the Authority under section 14 (1) (g) of the PURA Act 2001, the Authority hereby makes the following guidelines for the establishment and operations of an internet/cyber cafe' and application forms", stated Mr. Ebrima Ceesay of the Authority's legal department in a recent consultative forum on the launching of the document at the Paradise Suites Hotel in Senegambia. Ceesay outlined the scope of the guidelines, saying it shall be applicable to any business establishment offering a fee service which requires the use of computers to access the internet in the Republic of the Gambia.
He emphasised that the operation of any internet or cyber cafe' in the Gambia is subject to prior authorisation to be issued by PURA , adding that an application for authorisation is to be made by an individual wishing to commence operations of an internet or his/her representative. On the physical layout of the cyber cafe', Mr Ceesay pointed out that the cafe' must not have fully enclosed cubicles which will isolate a computer user from other computer users; that a board communicating that "pornography is not allowed" shall be prominently displayed in the internet cafe'; that internet cafe' that has cubicles or partitions shall be required to ensure that minors are not allowed to use machines in cubicles or behind partitions.
The PURA legal expert went on to add that an internet cafe' service provider and its customers cannot use the cyber cafe' to produce, download, duplicate, review, disseminate or otherwise use prohibited information, the scope of which in general conforms to the scope of the information that is prohibited from being produced, duplicated, published or disseminated through the telecommunications network. Mr. Ebrima Ceesay of the PURA legal department advanced that it is now a requirement for cyber cafe' operators to post a sign board stating that "Cyber Crimes and Pornography are prohibited" and the service provider shall not also publicly advertise or provide dating services or solicits or hosts dating services. He finally cautioned that an internet cafe' service provider must obtain an internet connection from licensed Internet Service Providers (ISPs) and all the computers should be installed with the licensed Anti-virus package that should be updated every day.