VERY recently, the country’s political gladiators, presidential candidates from different political parties, who were due to be on the ballot in the 2023 general elections, gathered in Abuja to sign a peace accord, intended to ensure that campaigns aimed at to strengthen elections are hate-free, decent and non-condescending.
Interestingly, many believe that to ensure a decent campaign free of hate speech, the national advertising industry definitely has a huge role to play.
For example, the Chairperson of the Outdoor Advertising Association of Nigeria (OAAN), Chief Emma Ajufo, in an exclusive conversation with Brands & Marketing, believes there is a need for marketing communications experts in the country to be “very involved” in the communication process. to enable them to give professional advice and guidance.
While emphasizing the need for politicians to be civil, in accordance with the recently signed agreement, the OAAN boss believes that involving experts in the communication process would also go a long way to avoiding unnecessary regime warm-up .
“You know, warming up the polity beyond what we have now won’t do anyone any good. Today, the rich and the poor are all crying, and everyone is on the brink, and what we can do then is ask those who signed this peace agreement to call on their supporters to minimize the way they run their campaigns, especially online campaigns,” he said.
Ajufo, however, believes that the Advertising Regulatory Council of Nigeria (ARCON) also has a big role to play as political campaigns gradually gain momentum.
He appealed to the industry’s top regulator to ensure campaigns are issue-focused, adding that any campaign that violates advertising laws on decency, truthfulness and honesty must be punished.
The OAAN boss also called on media owners to always insist on ARCON certification for any campaign material they intend to publish.
According to him, his sector, outdoor advertising, had already started the process to ensure that the campaigns exhibited by members were decent and hate-free.
As well as insisting that members must seek a verification license before posting any political communications, the association, he added, had also written to the United Nations Signage and Advertising Agency. Lagos State (LASAA) on the need to ensure a level playing field for all involved in the campaign.
“It’s not that LASAA has done anything to suggest they’re going to stop people from advertising or communicating with their constituents, but we’ve had such a thing in the past, and we’re saying that ‘They should allow a level playing field this time,’ Ajufo said.
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