Cameroon’s Minister of Communication bans advert promoting skin lightening

For some weeks now, an advert promoting skin lightening has been circulating on the social media. The advert ‘CARIMO’ shows dark skin men and women in a position of worship at the feet of a lady with a fair skin. It is written on the poster in french”CARIMO, mettez-les a vos pieds” meaning place them at your feet. This advert to many could mean those with fairer skin tones are superior to those with a dark skin.

Poster carrying CARIOMO ad

Cameroons minister of Communication, Rene Emmanuel Sadi to this effect has signed a communique this tuesday October 22, banning the said advert. Part of the communique reads “The Minister of Communication informs the public that an advertising campaign promoting skin lightening products has been launched some time ago by a cosmetic product manufacturing company called “CARIMO”, through posters and on social networks. On observation, the advertising poster at the center of this campaign features value judgments about people based on the color of their skin and therefore likely to undermine their dignity. Moreover, the referal messages which emerge from them suggest attacks on ethics and public morals. The Minister of Communication notes that the said promotional campaign is in total violation of Law N ° 2006/018 of December 29, 2006 governing Advertising in Cameroon, which, in its article 23, prescribes “the conformity of advertising messages with the requirements of decency and morality ”and provides in its article 24 that “the advertising messages must be free from any racial discrimination.” In addition, the aforementioned law engages in its article 57, the penal responsibility of the one who disseminates an advertising message containing elements of such a nature as to be contemptuous of a race or a religion.”

Communique signed by the Minister of communication

In the communique he asked that all posters of the advert be taken down. “the Minister of Communication has ordered the promoter of the company “CARIMO” to put an end to this illicit and outrageous advertising activity, by removing all the posters of this campaign on the billboards.”

Several controversies sprouted when this particular ad was launched. People wondered why a company promoting skin lightening should put up such a poster just to attract buyers.

It is hoped that with the minister’s reaction, other companies selling similar products will craft better posters not indicating that a particular pigmentation makes you either superior or inferior.

By Sandrine M.

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