The messenger logo

TV amnesty: pros and cons

By Messenger Staff
Thursday, April 8
On February 26 President Saakashvili spoke about the dire financial condition of TV companies and initiated the idea of a taxation amnesty. The Government then drafted a new taxation amnesty law applicable to all TV companies. However it appears that national broadcasters are gaining the most benefit from the taxation amnesty rather than regional ones.

17 regional TV companies have no tax debts at all. The other 8 regional stations put together owe the budget around GEL 2 million. However the big companies based in Tbilisi which transmit all over the country owe the budget 36 million GEL. Therefore it is obvious at first glance that the bigger companies have received a bigger pardon.

The legislation also discriminates against the companies who have already paid their taxes. If they had not paid they would have some reserve money now thanks to this legislation. Furthermore, if these benefits are given to TV companies why not print media companies too? The Christian Democrats have also asked questions in Parliament about the Public Broadcaster's debts, as this is funded from the budget in the first place.

Analysts suggest that it is very important that the advertising market should be free of political pressure and become more transparent. More information also needs to be made available about the ownership of the TV companies and their financial sources.