Kumasi, Aug. 11, GNA - The Advertising Association of Ghana (AAG) has stated that it would not allow any political party to paste posters, banners or any political education materials on the billboards of its members.
The Association said some of its members had suffered huge financial loses over the years as a result of the failure of their clients to pay them following the defacing of adverts on billboards by foreign materials such as posters, banners and other educational materials by political parties and other groups and individuals.
Mr Francis Dadzie, Executive Director of AAG, who stated this, said the situation became more frustrating in the run-up to political party elections when almost every billboard of the members of the Association in the metropolitan, municipal and district capitals which bore the adverts of their clients were overcrowded with all sorts of materials from political parties.
Mr Dadzie was speaking at a meeting with political party representatives in the Ashanti Region in Kumasi on Tuesday. The meeting was conveyed by the Kumasi Metropolitan Assembly (KMA) to remind the political parties on the Assembly's byelaws and regulations on outdoor advertising and the need to place political education materials at appropriate places in order not to obstruct traffic or cause an environmental nuisance in the Kumasi Metropolis, especially in the run-up to Election 2004.
Representatives of New Patriotic Party (NPP); National Democratic Congress (NDC); People's National Convention (PNC) and Convention People's Party (CPP) attended the meeting.
Mr Dadzie said clients of the affected advertising agencies had refused to pay the balance of advertising fees, citing the defacing of adverts on billboards as the reason and thereby collapsing the business of the affected members of the Association.
He said members of the Association had allowed the posters to be pasted on billboards over the years as a way of assisting political parties to market themselves and help nurture and sustain the democratic dispensation in the country.
Mr Dadzie, however, said the situation could not be allowed to continue forever since it was affecting the business of the members of the Association and urged political parties to consult advertising agents if they wished to place political education materials on billboards.
Mr Maxwell Kofi Jumah, KMA Chief Executive, explained that the meeting was to enable all the political parties in the Region and the KMA to come out with a compromise that would help ensure the maximum compliance of the bye-laws and regulations of the Assembly while at the same time, not stifling political campaign in the Metropolis. According to the KMA regulations, banners should be hanged along a street and not across it while billboards are not to be erected in roundabouts or intersections where it would block the view of drivers and pedestrians.
Prospective owners of billboards, banners, flags and other educational materials are also required to apply and get approval from the City Engineer's Department of the Assembly.
Mr Jumah said the KMA would try to remain neutral in the activities of political parties and urged them to always consult the Engineer's Department whenever they were in difficulties.
He urged political parties to avoid inflammatory statements that would heighten political tension in the Metropolis and rather discuss issues that would help move the city forwards.
The political parties present agreed to abide by all the byelaws and regulations to ensure sanity in the Metropolis.
They, however, urged the Assembly to defer the payment of fees charged on political party education materials, which would be mounted in the Metropolis, since they had not budgeted for it in their financial estimates.
The parties also appealed to the assembly to identify common areas where parties could erect and paste their educational materials.