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Amount of Money Government Spends on PR

By Levan Khutsishvili
Monday, July 9
On July 7, 2018 Transparency International (TI) published a research about governmental spending’s on PR and promotion, according to which, more than 98 million 480 thousand GEL was spent by public bodies on these activities from 2013 to 2017.

According to the research number of employees in Public Relations Departments of different public bodies has increased and if in 2012 there were 423 employees, in 2017 there were 643, and logically the amount of money, spent on salaries raised from 6 384 356 GEL to 9 270 513 GEL.

But, despite of this increased numbers, some politicians from “Georgian Dream” think that Government must be more focused on PR, because society doesn’t know about the important activities from government.

“I told it to Prime Minister and to his predecessor too, that we don’t have a good PR. The modern politics is impossible without PR. If we do not work on it, it will be difficult for us” – said Omar Nishnianidze, Member of Parliamentary Majority.

And adequacy to the reality of this kind of statements from the members of ruling party is disputable, as TI’s research says that in 2013-2017 more than 12 million GEL was spent on salaries of PR department of Governments administration, which is around of 20% of total salaries of employees of PR departments in 122 public bodies.

"According to the requested information, the administration of the government in 2010-2017 ordered advertisements to such newspapers as "Asaval-Dasavali" and "Alia". Those newspapers are using hate speech and openly spread xenophobic or homophobic statements and actively engage in anti-western campaigns. An information-analytical portal, founded by Giorgi (Gia) Iakobashvili, a member of Board of Trustees of the Georgian Public Broadcasting (GPB) as a representative of “Georgian Dream”, was also included on the list of media who received the order of advertising. Gia Iakobashvili is distinguished by the negative attitude towards the civil sector.

Despite the information we requested, the government's administration did not provide us with details about the media outlets, and what amount of money was transferred to them, so we don’t have detailed information about the contracts with "Asaval-Dasavali", "Alia" and "", reads the statement released by TI.

Based on this information, can be said that government is trying to gain supporters among the “Anti-Liberal” part of society, which is in majority in Georgia.

It is also visible that most money was spent in 2016 as it was a parliamentary elections year. In 2016 more that 28 million GEL was spent on PR and promotions, which is the highest number in the research period.

Besides the promotion of Government, according to the research, big amount of money is spent on PR activities, advertisements and promotions of activities of LEPL’s "National Tourism Administration", "National Wine Agency" and "Enterprise Georgia". The increase of spending’s in PR activities and advertisements after the Georgian Dream’s government came in power is mainly based on the expense of these three agencies. It is noteworthy that "Enterprise Georgia" was created in 2014, but it is still among the agencies having big expenses on PR.

In conclusion, it can be said that Government of Georgian Dream, believes that tourism is main possibility for Georgia to develop and correspondingly spends money on promotion of the country through the Tourism Department and National Wine Agency, together with Enterprise Georgia, which is more focused on development and popularization of Georgian production.

However, together with this, Georgian Government uses PR among radical groups that have many supporters, by collaboration with “Asaval-Dasavali” and “Alia” or with “”, this can be evaluated as an governments attempt to collect as many votes as possible.