The Association of Advertising Agencies of Nigeria (AAAN) has observed with great concern the spate of unhealthy smear campaigns by the political parties and shadow interest groups across the various media channels.
The association said in obvious disregard of the advertising code and ethics of APCON (Advertising Practitioners Council of Nigeria) and the AAAN most of these political advertisements have been exposed without going through the vetting procedures and consequent approvals from the Advertising Standards Panel (ASP) of APCON. “Our concerns are that the professional values of the advertising practice and indeed public sensibilities, as well as the very stability of the polity have been severely undermined by the continued character assassinations, wanton abuses, unrestrained attacks, threats and counter-threats that have become the bane of the political communication building up to the elections.
“As a non partisan but patriotic association, committed to the promotion and consolidation of democratic ideals, the AAAN implores the various stakeholders: political parties, candidates, interest groups, traditional and religious leaders to temper their campaign messages and public utterances with decorum. We would all become losers, if the continued improper politicking
“We would also urge media houses and the relevant regulatory bodies that have a role to play in moderating and channeling political campaigns and public discourse to institute stronger editorial controls that give ultimate priority to the public good and national interest. Extreme caution must be applied, so as not to ignite the polity, especially now that we’re a few weeks away from the elections.
“Elections will come and go but Nigeria and Nigerians will remain ONE. Let’s keep it that way by shunning violent and improper rhetoric, and by comporting ourselves as Nigerians first, and political gladiators second, during and after the election” the association said.