Cameroon's media regulator threatened on Tuesday to suspend distributors of television channels, particularly foreign ones, that broadcast "scenes of homosexuality", in a country that punishes same-sex relations with imprisonment.
In a text entitled "Warning", dated Monday and circulated in the media on Tuesday, the National Communication Council, a government body, stated that it had noted "the proliferation of programs promoting homosexual practices", "generally broadcast by foreign editors".
These programs "are increasingly to be found in cartoons aimed at children and minors", says the text.
"The CNC calls on the promoters of channels broadcasting programs showing scenes of homosexuality in Cameroon (...) to immediately withdraw these programs, which violate the law, morality and customs of our country, on pain (...) of the outright suspension of the media concerned".
The CNC does not name any of the media it is criticizing. However, an official from the body, who requested anonymity, assured AFP that "for the moment there is no question of this or that company being named because the volume of programs concerned is too great to name them all".
Cameroon, like many other African countries, receives many foreign channels via subscriptions to the packages offered by the French group Canal+ and the South African group DStv, as well as a number of other small private operators selling access to foreign channels by satellite.
The nine members of the CNC are appointed directly by decree of President Paul Biya, 90, who has ruled the country with an iron fist for more than 40 years.
Sexual relations between people of the same sex are punishable by prison sentences ranging from six months to five years in Cameroon.
In May 2022, the international NGO Human Rights Watch (HRW) denounced the "violence and abuse" regularly suffered by LGBTQI (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and intersex) people in this Central African country.
"The criminalization of homosexuality has created a climate in which Cameroonians and the security forces can assault and abuse LGBTQI people with impunity", HRW deplored.