The Government has come under sharp criticism from stakeholders in the advertising industry for its failure to reconstitute the governing council of the Advertising Practitioners Council of Nigeria (APCON).
It is incredible that APCON remains without a governing council, 3 years after the previous council was dissolved by the current administration. It took the current administration 2 years to name their nominees to the council and to the disappointment of advertising practitioners, the persons nominated have no expertise in the advertising industry as required by law. The appointments all appeared political and were opposed by the Advertisers’ Association of Nigeria.
You may ask why the Government wishes to politicise the appointments of representatives to the APCON Council. The most obvious response is that it is another avenue for censorship, particularly of political rivals. However, it is not only the current administration that has showed an inclination to politicise these appointments. According to reports, Jonathan’s administration also did. Perhaps, it is time to re-consider our current regulatory model, and adopt the self-regulatory model employed in the UK and India.
Appointment of the governing council of APCON may not be high on the list of the Government’s priorities, but, the absence of a regulatory authority appears to be taking a toll as advertising practitioners, and therefore advertisers, adopt a more lax attitude towards compliance in this new Wild West. As a result, consumers are likely to see an increase in false and misleading claims, and become unreceptive to marketing messages.