Gov’t squanders $16 million on propaganda campaigns in December and January

March 22, 2018

Gov't blows USD 16 million on propaganda campaigns in December and January
Head of the Cabinet Office of the Prime Minister Antal Rogán | Photo: The Prime Minister’s Cabinet Office/Balázs Szecsődi

According to Hungarian investigative journalism NGO Átlátszó, the Prime Minister’s Cabinet Office, commonly referred to as the propaganda ministry, orchestrated 6 massive advertising campaign in December 2017 and January 2018 at a cost to Hungarian taxpayers of HUF 4 billion (USD 16 million). The ministry was kind enough to charge Átlátszó more than HUF 17,000 (USD 68) to furnish the data.

How did the propaganda ministry burn through HUF 4 billion in two months?

Per Átlátszó:

  • The “Stop Soros” campaign cost taxpayers HUF 2.46 billion (USD 9.84 million). This was the only campaign that ran on television, print and online. It is possible that this number does not reflect the total amount spent on this particular campaign, as the data provided by the ministry only covered the period through the end of January.
  • The government’s food voucher Christmas gift pensioners ad campaign cost taxpayers HUF 252 million (USD 1 million).
  • A Visegrád Four promotional video cost taxpayers HUF 187.2 million (USD 749,000).
  • A print and online ad, which conflated the European Parliament’s Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs (LIBE) resolution against Hungary with the Soros Plan, cost taxpayers HUF 355.6 million (USD 1.4 million).
  • A television spot for Hungarian values (which has yet to run) cost taxpayers HUF 167.8 million (USD 670,000)
  • Government communication of family tax benefits and online tax filings cost taxpayers HUF 676.3 million (USD 2.7 million). The ad only ran on Andy Vajna’s television channels . . .a  total of 960 times!

Átlátszó reports that the propaganda ministry’s “poor quality” response did not include how much was spent promoting the Stop Soros campaign online, which cost taxpayers HUF 404.7 million (USD 1.6 million).

Of the HUF 3.6 billion spent on these six campaigns in December and January:

  • Lőrinc Mészáros’ media companies (Mediaworks and EchoTV) received HUF 886 million (USD 3.54 million).
  • Magno Studio Kft. received HUF 676.3 million (USD 2.7 million) for spots that ran on TV2.
  • HUF 553.6 million (USD 2.2 million) went to Atmedia (which is owned by András Tombor) and MSC Kft.
  • Andy Vajna’s media companies (TV2, Lapcom, Rádió1) received HUF 536.5 million (USD 2.15 million).
  • László Puch’s Népszava and Vasárnapi Hírek received HUF 25.8 million (USD 103,000).