Clearing the role of the International Advertising Association (IAA) and its obligations, Lance E de Masi, President of the UAE chapter, said the IAA is not an enforcer of any authority and does not intend to take a role that is not defined in its charter.
In an interview with Emirates Business, De Masi said: "The IAA is not a policeman; the IAA is not an enforcer and the IAA is not substitute government." He also clarified that "the IAA has no intention to do that".
Media industry representatives have in the recent past voiced their disappointment regarding the role and involvement of the IAA. De Masi, while clearing all such expectations, said it was a "wishful thinking" to expect the IAA to don the role of an enforcer.
"When some people say that they would like to see some enforcing role of the IAA, they are either engaging in wishful thinking and thereby attributing the authority that IAA doesn't have or desire to have," said De Masi.
He added: "They are frustrated themselves as they have not solved the problems they should have solved on their own."
"You must convey this message in clear words so that there's no doubt in the minds of those who have wrong expectations and believe that IAA will come to their rescue with some enforcing authority," said De Masi.
"I would like to ask those people who ask about the benefits of the IAA, what benefits are they seeking from IAA? What objectives do they have in mind?
"The IAA has been a participant in this faction. It has brought media and agencies up together on that subject. And that is what the IAA's role is. It is role of a catalyst, for those kinds of discussions."
Explaining the role of the IAA, he said: "The IAA is a mouthpiece for the communications industry. That includes advertising agencies, media and advertisers. The IAA is a trade association that, obviously through the expression of the voice of the industry, is there to further the interests of the industry."
De Masi said the IAA's role is parallel to its objectives. "Its objective is also the same. It's no more or no less than that. It's a mouthpiece that represents and furthers the interest of the industry."
De Masi is President of American University of Dubai and has taken this role after serving the media industry in four continents of the world.
The industry representatives have been making collective efforts and referring to various associations and organisations seeking solutions to problems that includes delayed payments, denied payments and a vast deficit between media houses and agencies.
Lending his support to the concept of an enforcing body, if any, De Masi said: "There's no indication as far as I am aware that such a body will see the light of day in the United Arab Emirates anytime in the foreseeable future.
When asked if in the absence of such a body, does the role and responsibility of IAA enhance and increase to organise and mediate a dialogues among all the bodies concerned, De Masi said: "The IAA does that. What it does is more responsibility on the entities involved to self regulate. Because the regulation is not coming from outside, so it must come from within."
"You must understand that the IAA is not going to engage in wasting time. When there's a platform for achieving results, I will be the first one there. But in the absence of the platform, I don't think we should engage in wishful thinking. It simply isn't there," De Masi said.
"If you don't have your expectations right, your perspective gets distorted. So those companies and individuals, who are expecting unreasonable actions from the IAA, are, in fact, not clear about the objectives of the IAA," he said.
On the question of membership of the IAA in the country, he said he does not have the number on the top of his head, "but all the major agencies are all represented in the IAA with very little exceptions".
Membership of the IAA is totally voluntary and is not at all obligatory. And it is an association that speaks on behalf of the industry.
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