Media Development Foundation, MDF presented the preliminary results of a survey "Media receiving funding from State Budget - unequal conditions for news agencies (online media)” at Frontline Georgia Club, on November 6.
The preliminary data shows that the majority of the Ministries (13 out of 18) and the State Chancellery have a practice of paying money to news agencies for such services such as a coverage of state institution's activities in accordance with their demand and dissemination of provided information. According to the preliminary data, in 2013-1014, a total of 254,774 GEL was allocated from the state budget for that purpose.
The leader among news agencies receiving funding from 11 ministries and the State Chancellery isIPN(101,539.8 GEL), followed by GHN (48,690 GEL). In 2013-1014 five ministries transferred money in amount of 43 034 GEL to PIA (Ltd "Pirveli”) and 41 330 GEL to For.ge. Relatively less amount of sum was given to other news agencies.
According to the information received from the public agencies, only five out of 18 (those of Justice, Education and Science, Energy, Regional Development and Infrastructure, and Finance) do not procure the service of news agencies.
Media Development Foundation (MDF) issued recommendations to the Government to review the current funding practice and make the process transparent, as well as to news agencies clearly separate editorial and advertising materials.
At the first stage of the survey Media Development Foundation requested the information from 19 Ministries and the State Chancellery. The Ministry of Internal Affairs failed to supply the requested information within the terms established by the law (10 working days), therefore an administrative complaint was filed against this violation.
Media Development Foundation will analyze the distribution of advertising among other types of media outlets, including instances of surreptitious advertising and programs sponsored by state entities, in the next research.