On the swearing-in day of the Pinarayi Vijayan-led Left Democratic Front (LDF) government, the media gave a lot of coverage to the Chief Minister and the government. On 25th May, almost all the media giants published an advertisement on Mr. Vijayan’s appointment as Chief Minister. All the advertisements solely reflected Mr. Vijayan and did not carry the name of the front or the party he represents.
According to official data, the total amount spent for the advertisements in print and visual media is Rs. 3,56,19,991. Of this, the print advertisements cost Rs.2,52,69,991 and the visual media (broadcast and online) advertisements cost Rs.1,03,50,000. Around 78 print media outlets across the country have published the advertisement ahead of the swearing-in. Regional dailies like Mathrubhumi, Malayala Manorama, Deepika, Chandrika, Mangalam, Deshabhimani and national dailies including The Times of India, Indian Express, The Hindu, and Hindustan Times have published it. Most of these have been full-page or half-page advertisements.
Around 22 TV channels and 31 websites carried advertisements for the government as well.
In response to a question asked by Palakkad MLA Shafi Parambil in the Assembly, Mr. Vijayan added that the amount has not yet been given to the media houses as they haven’t submitted the bills yet. But the money will be given to the media houses, once they submit the bills.
Government departments too have spent money for the swearing-in programme. Department-wise data shows that the Public Works Department has spent Rs.30,86,414, the Tourism Department spent Rs.3,65,200, the Public Administration Department spent Rs.20,000 and the Suchitwa Mission spent Rs. 8, 1280.
Is this sort of publicity truly a necessity? Or should it be a trend that can be done away with?