The Advertising Council of Nigeria (APCON) last Wednesdayin Lagos called on election candidates and their supporters, political advertising consultants and managers of mass media organizations to exercise restraint and comply with relevant laws and regulations on political advertising especially during the 2015 general elections.
APCON’s Registrar, Alhaji Garba Kankarofi, in a statement, appealed to all mass media owners and managers to comply with the directive in order to checkmate any unfounded attacks against personalities through campaign messages.
“Like every other form of advertisement, political advertisements are required to be submitted for pre-exposure approval by the Advertising Standards Panel.
“What we see today is a clear manifestation of mindless abuse of freedom of speech and flagrant breach of these regulations, which, if unchecked, is capable of plunging our country into an orgy of violence and anarchy,” the statement read.
It said the warning became necessary following recent political advertisements in some national newspapers which generated controversies.
The statement quoted Kankarofi as having expressed disappointment about the choice of “combative, provocative and insensitive’’ messages used by political marketers, who sometimes “undermine social harmony and well-being’’ for their own interest.
He said that henceforth, political advertisements must observe all rules and regulations on design and publication/ broadcast of political advertisements.
The regulation also required avoiding the use of foul or abusive language as well as false, distorted or unsubstantiated claims or misrepresentations of facts, besides not exploiting or inciting ethnic, religious or other sectional interests.
Also it stressed that they “should clearly indicate the identity of the sponsor of the advertisements” as anonymous or unidentifiable advertisers were not allowed to place advertisements in the media.
The statement warned that the peace and stability of Nigeria must not be undermined by any personal political interest or the business interest of media owners and managers.
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