Friday, 14 August 2015

Starting to Reveal the Cost of Propaganda

The Hong Kong government spent a lot of money on ads like these
We are closer to learning how much the Hong Kong government spent on advertising to promote its political reform package, but then failed miserably in mid June when it was voted down 28-8.

The figure of HK$5.08 million was finally revealed on Friday after legislative councillor Claudio Mo Man-ching was unable to get the information from the government and then complained to the Ombudsman.

"Apparently the government is trying to avoid a bigger public relations blunder before the Ombudsman publicly calls on them to disclose the information," Mo said, as she accused the administration of disrespecting Hong Kong people's 'right to know'."

Claudio Mo finally get some answers to how much was spent
With this latest figure, the media are estimating the entire exercise, that started back in 2013, may have cost taxpayers some HK$24.4 million. That's because the government said it spent HK$7.2 million in the 2013/2014 financial year, and had set aside another HK$12.1 million in the last financial year that ended in April.

However the Constitutional and Mainland Affairs Bureau refused to clarify the numbers for the media on Friday, saying it had "nothing to add".

So we're left to speculate the total cost.

But the bureau did explain to Mo how part of the HK$5.08 million was spent -- HK$3 million went to advertising on buses and the MTR, and HK$837,000 was used for electronic media commercials. From April to June, 2,295 minutes (38 hours and 15 minutes) were allocated for radio ads, and 2,619 minutes (43 hours and about 40 minutes) for television.

My, how precise these numbers are.

The government must come clean on the exactly total, and Hong Kong people must hold the administration accountable for spending so much of their taxpayer dollars. That money could easily have been spent on feeding the poor and elderly at least...

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