Today Lithuanian business daily “Verslo žinios” presents a topic about ongoing discussion whereas public funds (the latest case – Ministry of Agriculture) should be used for advertorials.

From my perspective, we have clearly draw a line between several issues:

  1. Advertorials are ultima ratio, i.e. it is the tool to be used in the last case. In general advertorials have the lowest efficiency/price ratio, therefore they should be used, when other measures fail, still public institution must inform public;
  2. The more institution uses advertorials, the less they are effective
  3. Advertorials paid by public institutions should have several characteristics:
    • they must be clearly marked as advertorial, without pretending to the editorial content;
    • the content should inform public about must-to-know activities, which otherwise became a disadvantage for those without certain knowledge;
    • the content should be generalized and free of any kind of political issues, i.e. no elected politicians could ever be portraided, cited, etc. This does not exclude career state employees – i.e. those, who are not politicians and execute their daily duties (e.g. strategic manager of tax system reform);
  4. Advertorials have a long-term negative effect and corrupt media channels. Media channels become laisy to report various issues, which are presented in advertorials. Such situation becomes uncontrollable – media looses attention, institution is eager to get at least some of it – buys advertorial, media interest is discouraged even more;
  5. I have to ascertain, that I don’t even speak about such situations, when public funds are used to directly advertise specific politician, his/her person. That’s an example of traditional corruption and conflict of interests.

More improtantly, this is equally important for EU structural funding – we have a lot of useless advertorials financed by EU funds.