ARCON’s Act to protect, sanitise advertisement space
The new law repealing the Advertising Practitioners (Registration, etc) Act, Cap A7, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004 and bringing into force the Advertising Regulatory Council of Nigeria (ARCON) Act, 2022 will determine, administer, monitor and enforce compliance by persons and organisations on matters relating to advertisements, advertising and marketing communication in Nigeria, whether of a general or specific nature.
Speaking at a recent forum organised by ARCON, the Director General, Dr. Olalekan Fadolapo, said new Act is important considering that the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) will soon permit political parties and candidates to flag off campaign for the 2023 General Election.
He said the new Act was enacted with the sole purpose of establishing a council for advertisements and marketing communications as the apex regulatory authority for the Nigerian advertising industry, the new law makes provision for the regulation and control of advertising, ensure the protection of general public and consumers, as well as, promote local content and entrench the best international practices and others.
Highlights of the new law includes, a preamble, which talks about the milestones of advertising in Nigeria as a business and a profession, Remit of the law, which simply repeals the advertising practitioners (registration ACT, Cap. A7, laws of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 2004, application of the act, states the people and departments the law applies to, interpretation of terminologies, defines the departments the law applies to, why establishment lists all the stakeholders involved in governing the council, functions of the council, are also clearly stated as well as its powers.
The privileges of registered persons and offences by unregistered persons are clearly stated, part of which is simply not been entitled to hold any appointment in the public service of the federation or state or any public service among others. Statutory committees and bodies comprise of the different panels of disciplinary tribunals and miscellaneous provisions deals with offenders as well.
He is optimistic that political office aspirants and their supporters will be convinced and motivated by their moral and civic responsibilities to comply with ethical political advertising, to guide their quest for public service in a manner decent enough to promote their pursuit of political ambition.
Fadolapo encouraged participants as well as the general public, to, among other things, raise the red flag at the slightest violation or threat of violation of the relevant provisions of the law concerning unethical political advertising and other sections of the law, which affect the existentiality of a decent society.
“A vibrant contribution in this regard will go a long way in ensuring peace and stability in the country,” he said.
It is also in tandem with this new law that the Federal Government, has in accordance with its statutory mandates, responsibilities, and powers as conveyed by the ARCON ACT No. 23 of 2022 banned the use of foreign models and voice-over artists on any advertisement targeted or exposed on the Nigerian advertising space with effect from October 1.
Fadolapo said, “all advertisements, advertising communication materials are to make use of only Nigerian models and voice-over artists.”
He, however, put a waiver on ongoing campaigns, as they are permitted to run out their terms, but the Advertising Standards Panel (ASP) would not grant subsequent applications for revalidation for continued exposure of such materials.
Also, another stakeholders’ meeting took place to emphasise the new law having in view political advertising as the season for campaigns is at hand.
A paper titled, ‘Political Advertising: Leadership, Responsibility and Compliance with the new Law in Nigeria’ was presented.
The keynote speaker, National Electoral commissioner for Information and Voter education, Mr Festus Okoye, referred to this period culminating in the start of political campaigns as a wakeup call to practitioners responsibility under the guiding laws of advertising.
He said compliance to any law is as important as breathing in and out. “In all human society, citizens, regardless of their position comply with the dictates of the law, compliance like flesh and blood, like the very air we breath, like our second skin. The way we comply with the laws of eating and drinking is the same way we should comply with the law of advertising,” he said.
A six-man panel comprising stakeholders examined the topic from different perspectives.