Online publishers boycott activities of political parties, allege diversion of multi-million naira campaign funds

Professional journalists who have taken to online publishing in Nigeria have resolved to boycott the activities of political parties in the country with immediate effect.
The online publishers, who met in Lagos State on Saturday to review the activities of political parties in relation to advert patronage, concluded that campaign organisations of the political parties have deliberately diverted advertising funds meant for online news platforms in the country.
They roundly condemned the development and called on all news publishing online platforms in the country to shun all party related activities until the abnormally is addressed.
The publishers expressed disgust at the gimmick of the campaign organisations to use the advertisement streaming platforms of Google and other third party advertisement streaming organisations, which pay little or nothing for such adverts, 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.
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. They regretted that, till date, no credible online news website has indicated it had benefitted from the N150 million advertisement campaign fund.
The meeting was informed that the Deputy Director General of the presidential campaign organisation of one of the major political parties told an online publisher at the Presidential Villa in Abuja 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 divert the funds for the advertisement campaign into private pockets, the meeting was told.
It was in the light of these revelations that the online publishers decided to, with immediate effect, boycott 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.

By Ifeizu Joe

Ifeizu is a seasoned journalist and Managing Editor of TheRazor. He has wide knowledge of Anambra State and has reported the state objectively for over a decade.

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