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24.07.2012

Whose money is the government using to advertise itself?

   

There was three times more commissioned material in June, than in May, with most of it plugging the government

Iryna Chupivska and Viktoria Syumar from the Institute for Mass Information write on Ukrainska Pravda that though the start of the election campaign is still weeks again, this is a mere formality.  In fact the elections are already underway, as can be seen by widespread bribery of voters through various gifts and “social initiatives”, as well as in the advertising campaign with unexplained funding.

The beginning of the election campaign is also demonstrated by a sharp increase in “jeansa” or covert advertising through commissioned material in the media.

The biggest surprise, they say, of monitoring of such commissioned material is the amount from the government.

“Analysis of this material suggests that the Party of the Regions is placing their bets on advertising “the government’s social policy” and social populism. The key figures of such material are cabinet ministers, with the unquestioned leader being the Deputy Prime Minister on Social Policy, Serhiy Tihipko”.

The biggest offender as far as commissioned material is concerned during June was Komsomolskaya Pravda in Ukraine, with 9% of its material being commissioned.

Its readers are regularly informed by Tihipko that “social payments in Ukraine will grow”, while Prime Minister Azarov “promises a stable course for the hryvnia”, etc.  There is virtually no material critical of the government.

The dailies Fakty and Segodnya don’t lag behind. If you read the headlines in the newspapers owned by oligarch friend to the current regime Pinchuk and billionaire MP and sponsor of the Party of the Regions Renat Akhmetov, respectively, , you can believe that everything is rosy in the country.

The authors give examples where those in power have managed to think up something original, like the Prime Minister’s visit to Dnipropetrovsk for the opening of a new perinatal clinic. Others are not so successful, but they give examples where, say, the Health Minister “by chance” meets a patient with the exchange on a distinctly positive note.

The authors give a number of these disturbingly propagandist “reports”, with Tihipko far outstripping all the others, and point to the clear thrust of the Party of the Regions campaign being in “bribing” the voters with promises about “improvements” for the most vulnerable and numerous groups in society – pensioners, public sector workers, the disabled.

How, though, does the real bribery take place, i.e. the incentive for media publications posting such overt advertising without any warning of such?  It is an open question, they say, whether this is done for money or because of the media owners’ support for those in power and agreements with them.

If for money, then whose?

If out of loyalty, then what do they hope to get out of it?

The authors write that whatever the answer, it is clear that at the end of the day it is the taxpayers who pay. The 2012 elections are with every month are becoming further and further removed from democratic standards and competition on ideological grounds. The competition is turning into banal bribery through promises and buckwheat or bikes.

Much summarized from the article here: 

 

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