Legal Battle Over Reforms: ARCON Replies ADVAN
The Advertising Regulatory Council of Nigeria (ARCON) has responded to the recent press release from the Advertisers Association of Nigeria (ADVAN) on reasons why the association is instituting legal action against it.
In a statement signed by the Head, Corporate Affairs, ARCON, Winifred Akpan, ARCON gave specific response to each area mentioned in ADVAN’s media release.
Remit of the Law
On Remit of the Law, ARCON stated that “Every government regulatory agency created by law has its primary and secondary remit. The primary remit of the ARCON Law is to regulate advertising, advertisement and marketing communications in all ramifications. The primary remit of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Act is financial regulation, for the National Insurance Commission (NAICOM) Act, it is insurance regulation”.
The regulatory Space/Jurisdiction
The statement also reflected on the regulatory Space/Jurisdiction. ARCON stressed that their primary mandate is to regulate advertising, advertisement and marketing communications in all ramifications.
“ARCON does not license or seek to license ADVAN members, but rather, it sets the industry framework for the advertising industry in line with its mandate. CBN sets the standard for the banking industry, and the Nigeria Communications Commission (NCC) sets the standard for the telecoms industry. The example of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) used by ADVAN does not fit into this issue as NBA is an association of lawyers registered as an Incorporated Trustees with Corporate Affairs Council (CAC) and not a creation of the law or a regulatory agency like ARCON. NBA cannot be compared with ARCON as postulated by ADVAN”.
Registered Persons and Offences
On the issue of registered persons and offences, the apex regulatory stated that “Advertisers engage several skills and professionals in their organizations. Anyone performing an oversight function on a specialized skill area is required to practice in conformity with the regulatory requirement of that professional field”.
The Advertising Offences Tribunal
Concerning the Advertising Offences Tribunal, ARCON said that the “Tribunal is a judicial body created by the law to adjudicate disputes of a specific type. Tribunal is not new to the Nigerian legal system as Tribunals currently existing in other industries and sectors of the economy; some of these include Investment and Security Tribunal (IST) for investment and security matters, Tax Tribunal for tax matters, Competition and Consumer Protection Tribunal for consumer protection matters and Advertising Offences Tribunal for advertising related matters among others”.
Power of the Council
On the Power of the Council ARCON explained that “Every government agency with investigative power has a right of access to information to enable it to act accordingly as provided in its Act and in line with the constitution. ADVAN is advised to check this with other government agencies that have investigative responsibilities and the powers”.
Industry Payment Policy
Concerning Industry Payment Policy, the regulatory council stated that “Payment Threshold framework and regulation varies from market to market and industry to industry. In an economy where self-regulation exists and works perfectly well, organizations within the system agree and sign off on payment threshold. This is also expected to align with statutory advertising regulatory framework. However, in an economy or industry where self-regulation fails, regulatory agencies take up the responsibility in line with its mandate”.