APCON to sanction members over publication of ‘injurious’ information

The Director General of the Advertising Practitioners Council of Nigeria (APCON), Dr Olalekan Fadolapo, has said the council will from December 5 commence enforcement of sanctions against members that permit the publication of harmful and injurious information to the public.

Addressing journalists Wednesday in Abuja, during the National Advertising Conference, Fadolapo said the council is repositioning in order to combat challenges affecting the industry and then contribute to the growth of the economy.

He said: “Major changes have occurred in the council since its establishment, especially recent name change. The National Assembly enacted the Advertising Regulatory Council of Nigeria Act (ARCON), which was signed into law by the President few months ago. That has given us so much backing with regards to the regulation space as well as coverage. The theme for this year, “Marketing communications industry: New trends, challenges and prospects”, cannot be better because our industry is threatened. If you read recent newspaper publications, there have been speculations that the industry will die. Notwithstanding, we the practitioners know that our industry is threatened by within and outside forces. So, we need to sit down as practitioners and ask ourselves questions bordering on how to come out of the situation and how to grow the industry.

“With regards to what we have done to grow the industry, we are looking at local content policy. The local content policy is to give Nigerians and the Nigerian economy the opportunity to grow beyond what it is. We are getting stakeholders in advertising industry to commit to commercial terms that are not injurious to any party, for promotion of equity and fairness in the ecosystem.

“With regards to moderating foul language by politicians, the code of advertising is there. If you check our recent release, by 5th of December, we are starting enforcement on all political advertisement campaign in Nigeria. Once we start enforcement, any advertisement that is not approved by the council, in line with the code of advertising, any stakeholder involved in the publication or exposure of that material will be sanctioned and prosecuted.”

Also speaking, the Chairman Senate Committee on Information, National Orientation, Ethics and Values, Hon. Olusegun Odebunmi, said the National Assembly will continue to give legal backing to the Council, advising stakeholders to sanitize the council and make it to be the envy of other professions.

“In the past, APCON was just like a toothless bulldog. However, the stakeholders were able to sit together with the executive and legislature, with the guidance of Speaker of the House, Rt. Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila and my humble self, to make sure that the act establishing the council was amended to be able to empower them to do the needful. In the next few months, people will see APCON in a new dimension as the members have been empowered to perform their duty accordingly. Members should protect the industry so that in years to come, it will be the envy of other professions and everyone will be rushing to belong or identify with the profession,” he said.

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