Fact checking the President’s state of the nation speech: Corruption

16 February, 2011


In his 2011 State of the Nation speech, President Mikheil Saakashvili said that the Financial Times had referred to Georgia as the world’s number one corruption fighter. We checked the FT’s online and print archives and could not find any reporting that would support the President’s reference. What the President probably referred to was a full-page ad in the FT – paid for by the Georgian government, aimed at attracting more foreign investors.

On January 28, 2011, the FT printed a full-page ad on page 7, stating: “Georgia – The World’s number 1 in fighting corruption”. The price for the ad, according to the FT’s price list: GPB 99,600, about GEL 282,000. The ad appeared in the FT’s Europe and United Kingdom editions, possibly also in the paper’s global edition, which would increase the price before discounts ("rate card price") to GPB 135,500/GEL 387,000.

The same Georgian government ad appeared also on page 7 of the Wall Street Journal (January 28, with a rate card price for a full-page ad in the global edition: USD 345,662/GEL 614,000) and in the Economist (week of January 29th, rate card price: at least GBP 90,900/GEL 260,000). The ad refers to Georgia’s results in TI’s 2010 Global Corruption Barometer. The Georgian government consulted with TI and TI Georgia on the text of the ad.

Author: Mathias Huter