Why amendment of APCON code is desirable, by Kankarofi

Alhaji Garba Bello Kankarofi

Alhaji Garba Bello Kankarofi

THE Registrar of Advertising Practitioners Council of Nigeria (APCON), Alhaji Garba Bello Kankarofi, has said that the APCON Act is embedded with fundamental flaws, which has been hampering the performance of the agency especially in the areas of fund generation and enforcement of sanctions against violators of the code.

He therefore maintained that it was time to revisit the law that established the regulator with the view of correcting the fundamental flaws that are delaying or hamstringing the enforcement of appropriate sanctions against violations of the law and code of advertising.

Kankarofi said this when the outgone Minister of Information, Senator Patricia Akwashiki had a stopover at the APCON house two weeks ago as part of her visits to agencies under her ministry.

“We are all witness to the unrestrained breaches of the code of advertising by politicians and the mass media during the campaigns for the just concluded 2015 General Elections. A properly empowered APCON would have been able to stem the ugly tide that we saw.

It is essential that before we go into the next general elections in 2019, something is done to equip the regulatory agencies to prevent such indecent to scurrilous communications that undermine the country’s democratic choice.”

He noted that in the area of product and service advertising, APCON has managed against various odds to secure or compel a high level of compliance. He however stated that the level of infractions is huge enough to give room for concern.

“More facilities and manpower are required to carry out more effective monitoring and enforcement. You are certainly aware of recent and rapid developments in the mass media technology and environment, which has posed new challenges for effective monitoring of advertisements.

To deal with these challenges in the short term, APCON will need to upgrade its technological capabilities and for the purpose, requires budgetary assistance from the government.

APCON Registrar also drew the attention of the minister to the crisis of setting up a council, when he said, “ The Honourable Minister is probably aware of the recent controversy over the constitution and inauguration of the governing council of APCON.

This controversy arose from an apparent error by the government in appointing a chairman and members of the council contrary to the provision of the APCON law as currently exists.

Incidentally, this apparent error was occurring for the third time and resulted in stalling many essential activities of the council for 18 months.”

The former Minister commended APCON for doing a good job and also agreed that the APCON law should be amended.

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