Is The Use of Taxpayer Money For Political Propaganda Ok?
DZMM radio of ABS-CBN reported Thursday afternoon that there’s a report from the Commission on Audit that the government spent just under P 2-B for paid media advertisements in 2008 and 2009 (673-M in 2008 and 1.14B in 2009).
The report also quoted former NEDA Director General Ralph Recto as disclosing the a further 818M is earmarked this year also for government advertisement.
Earlier last week, Philippine Information Agency chief Conrado ‘Dodi’ Limcaoco was quoted as telling reporters that the Arrroyo administration, which is ending its term this June, does plan to “ramp up efforts to inform Filipinos how the government is successfully delivering onits promised reforms and services.
No one should, I guess, really argue against the need for such image-building operations both as a mechanism for transparency and accounting for how public money is spent for social services and such.
I wonder, however, about whether the government’s own huge information machinery is not enough that ads have to be bought in private media outlets.
Eyebrows rise and doubts surface when there are ads which ostensibly project programs but also quite obvious buff up the thinly disguised image of political agenda of politically ambitious heads of agencies.
There is, indeed, quite a grey area than can separate proof positive ‘reporting of solid accomplishments and political propaganda, particularly when elections are in the horizon.
But one must ask if what’s really happening is the misuse of public money for electoral campaigning and if that isn’t a crime?