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    Monday, May 23, 2022

    APCON to Clamp Down On Unlicensed Digital Advertisers

    The Advertising Practitioners Council of Nigeria (APCON) is set to clamp down on digital advertisers operating in Nigeria without license.

    Speaking to newsmen on Monday, May 23, 2022, APCON Registrar/ Chief Executive Officer, Dr. Olalekan Fadolapo stated that in the bid to drastically reduce the unethical digital advert practices in Nigeria, the Corporate Licensing agency is making moves with the support of the Nigerian Police Force and the National Assembly to regulate the digital media space.

    Dr Lekan’s said, “There is a lot going on in the digital media space and its high-time we make moves to regulate them. Following several petitions of activities of people operating in the digital media space, the National Assembly has passed a resolution directing APCON to take responsibility for the digital media space, not withstanding the ongoing APCON law review.

    Read the full statement below;

    “Advertising regulation, self or statutory, has created conducive business atmosphere around the world and Nigeria has not been an exception. Since the establishment of the Advertising Practitioners Council of Nigeria (APCON) by Act No. 55 of 1988 which charged APCON with the regulation and control of advertising in Nigeria in all aspect and ramifications, APCON has through her mandates significantly reduced the exposure of unwholesome and unethical advertisement in the traditional media, this includes the print, broadcast and out-of-home media.

    “With the increase of digital media activities in Nigeria and accessibility of online media platforms, we have been faced with a new threat of unethical and provocative advertising and marketing communication materials which have every potential of inflaming religious crisis, moral decadence and misleading information when allowed to thrive with attendant negative effect on the country, its economy and value system.

    “The advent of the internet and new media, characterized with social networking sites such as Blogs, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, WhatsApp etc., has revolutionized communication globally. All the giant tech and primary digital media platforms owners such as Google, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube etc have been exploring the Nigeria digital media space with all sort of advertisements some of which are in violation of the Nigerian Code of Advertising Practice, pre-exposure vetting and ethical requirements of an advertisement.

    “These days, many people are bloggers and influencers offering themselves, their services, blogs and media handles as platforms for product and services to be advertised on without recourse to accepted principles and ethics of the advertising practice. The sharp increase in violation and infraction of the Nigerian Code of Advertising is not only worrisome but also portends danger.

    “APCON has been inundated with petitions over unethical advertisements exposed on the online media platforms targeting Nigeria market by both the primary and secondary digital media platform owners.

    “Sadly we have had complaints and petitions from the general public to call online media platform owners to order because of some reprehensible advertisements such as those promoting rituals, patronage of private parts enlargement, breast enlargement, love portions, money charms, concoctions to provide political powers, and other many unimaginable things not worthy to be mentioned in the public media. Some others have claimed the ability to cure all manner of ailments with one particular product without scientific proof. A particular advertisement has offered ultimate solution with one product for getting rid of piles, HIV, diabetes, COVID, Stroke, Cancer etc.

    “The Federal House of Representatives in Abuja observed the pathetic trend of the exposure of advertisement on online media advertising platforms and consequently deliberated on the need to regulate online advertising. It has passed a resolution and has directed APCON to effectively monitor and regulate online media advertisements.

    “Furthermore, the resolution passed by the House of Representatives unequivocally directs APCON to ensure that online advertisements conforms with the prevailing laws of the Federation and as such must be made to comply with the provisions of the Nigeria Code of advertising Practice, Sales Promotion and other Rights/Restrictions on Practice.

    “APCON’s regulation of online advertisement extends to all advertisements broadcast, published, or expose on any of the digital platforms directed or accessible within Nigeria.

    “As it is statutory, section 23 of the Advertising Practitioners (Registration Etc) Act, CAP A7, L.F.N 2004 establishes the Advertising Standards Panel and charges it to ensure that advertisements conform the prevailing laws in Nigeria as well as the code of ethics of advertising. It follows therefore that the Panel vets and approves all advertisements before exposure and we advise all advertisers, agencies and media platforms to seek the Panel’s approval of any advertisement prior to exposure.

    “The Code has adequately provided a guide and basic standard which as a matter of necessity all advertisements should embrace as minimum and acceptable level. The Code demands that advertisement must be legal, decent, honest, truthful, respectful and mindful of Nigeria’s culture, constitutional tenets and relevant lawful enactments.

    “With the electioneering season at hand, elective political office aspirants are also implored to ensure that their political advertisements are vetted and approved by the ASP before exposure on any medium. This will diminish the repugnant influence of hate speech and unethical political communication in the country”.

    What You Should Know About APCON

    In Nigeria, APCON is in charge of regulating the advert space and approving adverts for the promotion of products and services.

    However, the regulator seems to have been losing advert fees and its authority to the tech companies as digital adverts become more popular. APCON, however, still controls the traditional media channels – Newspaper, Television, Radio, and Billboards.

    Equipped with its 5th Nigerian Code of Advertising Practice & Sales Promotion (the “Code”) effective January 2013, APCON has been known to levy sanctions on businesses whose advertisements are not vetted prior to publication or exposure. Its contention has been that it is empowered to regulate advertisement in general and that any person or entity who publishes or procures the publication of an advertisement within the meaning of the Act and the Code is an advertiser and is therefore within the remit of its regulatory powers.

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