Thiruvananthapuram: Amid protests over self-promotion, the Kerala government is getting ready to spend nearly Rs 50 lakh to bring foreign media persons in a bid to trumpet its gains abroad.
The move comes even as a controversy rages in the ruling CPM over a self-glorifying video by a prominent leader.
Fifteen international and national media persons, drawn from countries like the US, Britain, Russia and China, will arrive in Kerala next month.
There had been discontent in the CPM that a 'Washington Post' story on the growth of the party was presented through finance minister Thomas Isaac, while others did not get any prominence.
The new move is aimed at highlighting in the foreign media the role played by the government leadership, including the chief minister, in the comprehensive development of the state.
The journalists will do interviews with Pinarayi Vijayan. Debates will be staged with entrepreneurs and an opportunity will be provided for direct exposure to the Kerala-model of development.
It will also be a response to the Bharatiya Janata Party's deployment of some national media persons to paint a distorted picture of the state featuring it as a gory political killing field.
The visiting media persons will be drawn from the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC), international news agencies like Reuters and Agence France-Presse, the French newspaper Le Monde, US television channel Fox News, China Daily and Global Times of China, Russian tabloid Komsomolskaya Pravda, UAE's Khaleej Times and Gulf News, Al Jazeera channel of Qatar and the Kuwait Times.
From the national media, there will be journalists from the DNA, Rajasthan Patrika, Hindustan Times, Dina Thanti, Eenadu, Times Now, Republic TV, CNN-IBN, The Telegraph and Amar Ujala, among others.
The government has sanctioned Rs 10 lakh for air tickets. Rs 8 lakhs has been allotted for accommodation, Rs 6 lakh for food, Rs 2 lakh for entertainment and Rs 4 lakh for travel.
Despite the estimates, the PR exercise is expected to cost ateast Rs 50 lakh.