Fadolapo addresses misinterpreted online content regulatory plans

By Zion Rufus

The Advertising Regulatory Council of Nigeria (ARCON) has clarified its recent plans to regulate online advertising content by addressing concerns that the move would impinge upon the creative freedom of skit makers and influencers.

The Director General of ARCON, Olalekan Fadolapo, who spoke at the DMS-MIPAN Workshop 2023, shed more light on the organization’s intentions while highlighting the crucial distinction between entertainment and advertising.

ARCON’s announcement regarding the regulation of online advertising contents had earlier generated widespread misconceptions, with many misinterpreting the move as an attempt to regulate skit making as a whole. 

However, Fadolapo emphasized that ARCON’s objective is to ensure that advertising materials adhere to ethical standards and promote transparency in the industry, without stifling creativity or curtailing entertainment content.

During his address at the workshop held on May 11, 2023, Fadolapo underscored the importance of recognizing the fine line between entertainment and advertising. He stated, “We do not intend to regulate entertainment, nor are we interested in regulating comedy, but when there are elements of advertising in your comedy, you have crossed the line into another sector.” Fadolapo further explained that once entertainment content incorporates brand promotion or advertising elements, it becomes subject to the regulations, laws, ethics, and standards of the advertising sector.

ARCON’s primary concern is to safeguard consumers by ensuring that advertising content does not mislead or manipulate their purchasing decisions. Fadolapo also stressed the need for due procedures and compliance with advertising standards of practice. He noted, “It is our duty to protect Nigerians and not make them feel that a product being promoted by an influencer is legit or legal just because a celebrity has chosen to endorse it in their content.”

The Director General also urged professionals in the industry to be mindful of their responsibility in maintaining ethical practices. Compliance with advertising standards, such as transparency in sponsored content and avoiding deceptive tactics, was strongly encouraged. Fadolapo’s remarks aimed to clarify ARCON’s intentions, reassuring skit makers and influencers that their creative pursuits would not be unnecessarily hindered.

The regulation of online advertising contents by ARCON is a proactive step to ensure that consumers receive accurate and reliable information when making purchasing decisions. By vetting and reviewing ad contents before they are disseminated on digital platforms, ARCON seeks to uphold the credibility of advertising and protect the interests of Nigerian consumers.

The collaborative event between DStv and the Media Independent Practitioners Association of Nigeria (MIPAN) provided an ideal platform for ARCON to engage with concerned practitioners, shedding light on the organization’s goals and objectives. Fadolapo’s explanation served as a clarion call for industry professionals to align their practices with ethical advertising standards, fostering an environment of trust and integrity within the advertising sector.


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