Belfast Telegraph

Northern Ireland civil servants paid £11,000 to watch TV

The Northern Ireland Office (NIO) spent £11k paying civil servants to watch TV and read newspapers last year, it has been revealed in a parliamentary question.

The expenditure funded the local branch of the UK Government’s media monitoring unit in Northern Ireland, the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland Owen Paterson has confirmed in the inquiry which sought to discover the cost of media monitoring purchased in each of the last five years.

Minister of State Hugo Swire revealed that the NIO Information Service costs for Media Monitoring for April 2011 to March 2012 were £11,340.

Meanwhile the PSNI are also paying staff to keep an eye on the media, with figures provided by the PSNI for period 11 of the 2010/11 financial year revealing that: “the total figure £1,550,552.00 includes all costs associated with the media department, including salaries, campaigns, media monitoring, internal communications, internet and social media," according to the Londonderry Sentinel.



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