Advertisers complain political parties use their space without paying
KARACHI: After the election commission’s ban on political parties to advertise their campaigns in the media, outdoor advertisement hoardings are still an option for the politicians. But advertisements without payments are no good for the advertising agencies.
Reluctant to offer their spaces to the political parties, advertising firms in Karachi have gone to court seeking enforcement of a ban on their outdoor advertisement sites, saying the groups avail the service without paying.
The Sindh Outdoor Advertisers Association (SOAA), a representative body of the outdoor advertising agencies, which buys spaces from the Karachi Metropolitan Corporation’s advertisement department on prescribed fees, has taken the chief election commissioner, the provincial election commissioner, the secretaries of local government and home departments, the Karachi commissioner and administrator and the executive officers of Faisal and Karachi cantonment boards to the Sindh High Court.
Different political, religious and other groups illegally occupy outdoor advertisement sites belonging to the association’s members in Karachi without seeking their permission or paying the rent, submitted SOAA general secretary Aamir Siddiqui in the petition.
Without naming any group, the petitioner claimed that some groups had been occupying the outdoor sites for nearly four years now.
In February 2009, the then city government had issued a public notice through newspapers directing all parties to use pole-mounted banners only for three to seven days. “The authorities have failed to implement this direction, resulting in massive financial losses to the advertisers,” Siddiqui added.
The plaintiff appealed to the court to direct the local government and cantonment authorities to remove the “illegal” banners from commercial sites. After hearing the preliminary arguments on Tuesday, the court issued notices to the respondents to file their comments by January 31.