City officials pass the buckThursday, May 8, 2014
PRO tries its hand at excuses for benefiting allies with public advertising
A day after the Herald completed a two-part report analyzing the largest recipients of official advertising from Buenos Aires City in the first half of 2013 (the latest available official figures), there was no official comment from City Hall — so this newspaper decided to find out what PRO officials think about the amounts granted to the main media players as well as some surprising figures regarding media consulting agencies and small radio stations in the provinces.
It was no easy task.
First, a spokesman for Deputy Mayor María Eugenia Vidal declined to comment and said the Herald should speak with the City Hall press office. Then a spokeswoman told the Herald that Media Secretary Miguel de Godoy was unavailable for immediate comment as he was “in a meeting.”
Former PRO lawmaker Paula Bertol, who last year said the lack of a good Official Advertising Law was one of the deficits of the Macri administration, also declined to comment upon the Herald’s request.
City official Silvana Giudici — who also heads a small NGO defending freedom of information — tried to explain the City’s spending decisions.
—The Herald published a series of news stories this week based on official data that appear to show discretionary spending by the PRO administration, echoing the attitude of the national government. What’s your comment on that?
—What differentiates the City administration from the national government is that the City has all its information online. It’s an open data portal.
—But what do you say about what these figures show? For example, a radio from Mendoza being third on the list of largest recipients for that medium.
—Regarding allocation (of resources), one must take into account that the City has a nationwide audience of potential holidaymakers. I haven’t read the story and I have no idea what those public advertisements were about, but I believe the City was advertising different programmes related to tourism.
—The thing is, the benefited Mendoza radio is owned by the Terranova family. Orly Terranova ran as candidate for the PRO party...
—I can’t comment on that.