Nigeria

ARCON to remove ‘unapproved’ political ads, sanction defaulters

The Advertising Regulatory Council of Nigeria (ARCON) has said that political ads that have not been approved will be taken down from December 5.

The Advertising Regulatory Council of Nigeria (ARCON) has said that political ads that have not been approved will be taken down from December 5.

A statement from ARCON’s director-general, Olalekan Fadolapo, dated November 22, 2022, and obtained by NewsXtra, states that, per section 34(3) of the Advertising Regulatory Council of Nigeria Act No. 23 of 2022, it is illegal to display advertisements without first receiving approval from the council’s advertising standards panel.

He noted that the council has seen a lot of illegal campaign ads floating around in anticipation of the 2020 elections.

Fadolapo thus warned of an impending nationwide enforcement exercise in which ARCON and relevant law enforcement agents would remove political advertisements not approved by it.

“The Advertising Regulatory Council of Nigeria (ARCON) established by the Advertising Regulatory Council of Nigeria Act No. 23 of 2022 has observed with concern the increasing spate of exposure of unapproved political advertisements ahead of the 2023 General Elections on all media platforms,” the statement reads.

“Exposure of unapproved advertisements without prior approval of the Advertising Standards Panel is an offence under section 34(3) of the Act.

“All political parties, elective political office aspirants, political campaign organisations, advertisement agencies and media space owners are hereby advised to immediately desist from exposing political advertisements without prior approval of the Advertising Standards Panel as required by the Act.

“In view of the above, ARCON, with other relevant law enforcement agencies of the Federal Government, will, from Monday, December 5 2022, commence a nationwide enforcement exercise to remove every political advertisement for which approval was not given prior to exposure.”

The ARCON DG warned industry players that the council would not hesitate to prosecute those who ran ads that did not comply with the regulatory laws.

Without the consent of the Advertising Standards Panel, “ARCON will further seek to prosecute any person or body corporate who sponsors, causes to be exposed, exposes or takes benefit of political advertising, advertisement or marketing communication,” the statement continues.

“All political and advertisement stakeholders are enjoined to take note.”

In October, ARCON revealed that it had sued Meta for N30 billion due to “unapproved advertisements” appearing on its platforms.

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