Data gathered from BIRN from the expenses database of Spending Data Albania suggests that during this year Tirana spent more money for ads than any other municipality. For the first nine months of 2014 the Municipality of Tirana has spent more than 20.4 million Lek (145 thousand Euros) for advertisements in some daily newspapers, while all other municipalities taken together have spent a total of 3 million Lek (21,400 Euro) during the same time frame.

Overall, Albania’s main public institutions, including the Council of Ministers, ministries, the office of President and several agencies spent about 31.29 million (223,500 Euro) for advertisements.

The Municipality of Tirana, led by the chairman of the opposition Democratic Party Lulzim Basha, took 65 percent of all spending on public institutions ads in print media during 2014. The distribution of government advertisements, particularly television ones, was a debated matter during the previous government led by Sali Berisha.

Investigations conducted by BIRN in January revealed that during his eight years in power, the Berisha government spent millions of Euros in a series of electoral campaigns, where most of money went to pro-government television stations. Data provided by BIRN show that from 2009 to 2012, the Ministry of Interior spent the entire budget for ads in a single agency affiliated with a media figure close to the government.

The Ministry of Interior had six major television advertising campaigns and produced one spot in four years for a total of 85 million Lek (610 thousand Euros).

From 2008 to 2012, the Ministry of Interior was headed by the current leader of Democratic Party, Lulzim Basha, and by the current President of Albania Bujar Nishani. Basha ran from 2009 to 2011 while Nishani was minister in 2007-2009 and again from 2011 until 2012. Balkan Insight has learned that contracts were part of a larger scheme to enrich the pro-government media, which continued throughout the eight years that the Democratic Party was in power.

Other institutions were particularly generous with companies owned or affiliated with Frangaj, including the Council of Ministers, the Ministry of Defense and the General Directorate of Police. The Ministry of Defense over just two years gave 580 thousand Euros in advertisements for two advertising agencies related to Frangaj, Promo and Zoom Events. TV Klan also received 427 thousand Euros from the Council of Ministers in 2008 and 2010 while the General Police Directorate from 2010 to 2012 gave 198.9 million Lek (1.4 million Euros) to Primo for three major advertising campaigns.