Top Professional journalists, who publish online news have, through their organised association, Guild of Corporate Online Publishers (GOCOP), are not happy with the way the campaign organisations of the major political parties have side-lined them in form of advertisement patronage.
This was even as they alleged that one of the Presidential campaign organisation media directors has diverted the sum of N150 Million he was asked to place adverts in the organised online news platforms.
The online publishers who met in Lagos State under the umbrella of GOCOP on Saturday to review the activities of political parties in relation to advert patronage, rose from the meeting with a conclusion that campaign organisations of the political parties have deliberately diverted advertising funds meant for online news platforms in the country.
They roundly condemned the situation and called on all news publishing online platforms in the country to black-out all party related activities, including press statements, releases and even press conference “until the abnormality is addressed.”
The publishers also quarrelled with a few of the Presidential campaign organisations that have been using advertisement streaming platforms of Google and other third party advertisement streaming organisations, “which pay little or nothing for it, instead of dealing directly with the Nigerian publishers who are creating jobs for millions of Nigerians in the online industry.
“In that regard, the publishers ordered the immediate stoppage of online political advertisements with foreign inputs with immediate effect.
“The publishers gathered that one of the two major political parties in the country had budgeted not less than N150 million for online advertisement campaign.
However, till date, no credible online news website has indicated it had benefitted from the N150 million advertisement campaign fund.”
GOCOP recalled that the Deputy Director General of one of the campaign organisations disclosed authoritatively that approval had been given and money released for the party’s advertisement campaign on credible news websites but expressed surprise that the money had been diverted.
“This is apart from the millions of naira budgeted for media relations. Aside from streaming political advertisements through third parties on the news websites, thus creating the impression that advertisements had been given, what some of those involved in the campaigns themselves had done was to quickly open phoney news websites and diverted the funds for the advertisement campaign into private pockets.
“It is in the light of these revelations that the online publishers decided to, with immediate effect, black-out the activities of the political parties, some of which “dump” press statements on the online news websites as early as 6am and send as many as 10 of such releases in a day.” [myad]