As the 2019 general election draws nearer, the Advertising Practitioners Council of Nigeria, APCON, has warned against hate speeches to save the polity from being over heated.
It also threatened to sanction and publicize any erring political party and practitioners who failed to comply with the rules.
Chairman, Adverstising Standards Panel, Mr. Ade Akinde, dropped the hint during a one day stakeholders’ forum on Political Advertising with the theme, “Regulating Political Advertising: Avoiding Hate Speech,” in Katsina weekend.
Akinde also said political parties which adhered to the rules stood a chance to be recognized and rewarded.
He faulted the use of unqualified and unskilled media publicity officials who he described as school drop outs.
According to him, these are the set of publicity officials who promote hate speech and over heat the system.
Akinde said further that political parties don’t have to use hate speeches to win election, noting that they even stood a chance of winning when they campaign based on competitive adverts with factual and verifiable facts.
“The best practice is advertising based on developmental issues, competitive adverts (factual and verifiable) and meeting electorate expectations (needs and wants).
“The reality, is deliberate misinformation of the electorates. Use of non-traditional media to promote or attack candidates, sponsorship of the hate materials on media (especially social media) and usage of media publicity officials who are unqualified and unskilled,” Akinde said.
He further charged political parties to recruit and engage professional advertising firms, urging them to encourage party publicity officials to be APCON compliant.
Speaking earlier, a senior lecturer in the Department of Mass Communication, Bayero University, Kano, BUK, Bala A. Muhammad, called on politicians to be constructive in their criticism and campaign instead of using hate speech.
“Here we are trying to see that the 2019 election, all elections before and after that time should be conducted in peace and harmony. And that people should not call each other names, should not resort to hate speech just because they have political misunderstanding.
“We have seen what hate speech can do. We have given examples of Nazi regime in Germany (1933 – 1945) the second world war, we have seen what happened in Yugoslavia, what Rwanda went through in 1994 where there was a massacre of the Tutsi minority where nearly a million of people were killed in just 100 days and half a million women were raped. And all these happened as a result of hate speech.
“So we are saying Nigeria cannot be immuned from these kind of violence if people call to it. And therefore, we should be sensible enough to say that we have to stop hate speech.
“Hate speech have impact on economy because if violence comes, nobody will invest in the country and the economy and the society will suffer,” Muhammad however cautioned.