April 11, 2023

FG vows to protect religions against insensitive commercials

FG vows to protect religions against insensitive commercials

By Biodun Busari

The Advertising Regulatory Council of Nigeria (ARCON) has warned advertisers, advertisement agencies, and media organisations to desist from commercials that are provocative against religious beliefs.

The Council made this known in a statement titled, ‘Exposure of Incendiary and Provocative Easter Advertisements’ signed by the Director General, Dr Olalekan Fadolapo, on Tuesday.

It might not be unconnected with Peak Milk’s social media advert which said, ‘Bruised and Pierced For Us #GoodFriday.”

The commercial was greeted with backlash from Nigerians, which forced the parent company, FrieslandCampina WAMCo Nigeria PLC to apologise to the Christians Association of Nigeria (CAN) on Tuesday.

Reacting in the statement, “ARCON noted with concern, the series of advertisements exposed during the recent Easter celebration by advertisers, media owners (traditional and online) and advertising agencies.”

It further said, “The advertisements were not only provocative, insensitive, offensive, incendiary but were also not submitted nor vetted by the Advertising Standards Panel in accordance with the provisions of section 53[1] of the Advertising Regulatory Council of Nigeria Act No.23 of 2022.

“A number of advertisements were observed during the Easter Celebration by the Council to be unpleasant, and demeaning to the Christian faith.

“The Council will take necessary actions to ensure that the rights, sensitivities and religious beliefs of any sect, or group of people are not ridiculed, disparaged, or exploited for commercial gains or otherwise.

“Advertisers, advertisement agencies, and the media/media owners are strongly advised to desist from exposing any form of advertisement without obtaining the prior approval of the Standards Panel. Violators will be sanctioned in accordance with the law.”