Cameroon: Hate Speech - Law Provides Heavy Sanctions

The penal code clearly outlines punishment for anyone guilty of propagating hate speech.

Law No 2019/020 of December 24, 2019 to amend and supplement some provisions of Law No 2016/7 of July 12, 2016 relating to the Penal Code outlines penalties to be meted on persons found guilty of hate speech. The law, from interpretations, is intended to promote the spirit of peaceful social cohesion given that its sanctions are to scare citizens away from the act. It thus provides penalties to contempt on race or religion and contempt to tribe or ethnic group.

With respect to contempt to tribe or ethnic group, Section 241-1 (new) states that whoever by any means makes hate speech against people or incites them to violence due to their tribal or ethnic origin shall be punished with imprisonment from one to two years and with fine of FCFA 300,000 to three million francs. Where the author of the hate speech is a public servant as per the provisions of Section 1361 of the Penal Code, a leader of the political party, of the media, of a non-governmental organisation or a religious institution, the punishment provides for in subsection one above shall be doubled and the benefit of mitigating shall not be given.

In order therefore to promote the spirit of living together through tolerance, the National Commission for the Promotion of Bilingualism and Multiculturalism under the leadership of its Chairperson, Peter Mafany Musonge, has carried out national campaigns to fight against hate speech and xenophobia. Sensitisation campaigns, roundtable exchanges, meet-the-people tours, and other formal discussions have been carried out by the Commission to educate the population on the negative consequences of hate speech on national unity. ...

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