‘NOBODY WILL BE PUNISHED AND MOREOVER – FOR IMPARTIALITY’
16 June, 2011
‘NOBODY WILL BE PUNISHED AND MOREOVER – FOR IMPARTIALITY’

 

Interview with Mikheil Machavariani, Parliamentary Vice-Speaker

Simultaneous inspection of six ‘MediaPalitra’ companies by tax service was associated by our colleagues and some politicians with objective covering of May 26 events. Mikheil Machavariani, Parliamentary Vice-Speaker even tried to explain why ‘MediaPalitra’ became the focus of attention of tax service:


M.M. – ‘MediaPalitra’ itself took the most correct position regarding the tax inspection of the Media-House and in the published declaration made a proper assessment. If I’m right, it’s Franklin’s words that one cannot

avoid two things in this world: death and taxes. We are trying to make the tax code and procedures simpler in order to have as little pressure on business as possible. If I remember it correctly, the ‘Kviris Palitra’ holding hasn’t been inspected for the last ten years.

Q. – I can’t agree with you. Out of six companies some have been functioning for only two or three years. As it was said, the entities to be inspected are chosen at random through a computer program and how could it happen so that six enterprises of ‘MediaPalitra’ founded in different periods simultaneously turned up to be in the list of those to be inspected?

M.M – You’d better inquire at the Finance Ministry. It’s most important that printing of ‘MediaPalitra’ issues was not hindered.  The agency, radio and Internet-TV faced no problems.

You have so serious a Media-Holding that I think everything will be in order. I see no threat in this inspection.

Q. – You haven’t answered the question asked by many. How could it happen so that a computer program selected ‘at random’ six enterprises of ‘MediaPalitra’.

M.M. – Such a computer program really exists and despite my respect to those people who expressed doubt I have to say that many were groundless. Sooner or later ‘MediaPalitra’ was to be inspected, so what’s the difference when would it happen?

Q. – Tax service entered ‘MediaPalitra’ organizations in ten days from May 26, very soon after ‘Palitra TV’ spread the video material showing the events of May 26 night.

M.M. – Other TVs spread no less sharp video material. While assessing those events the ‘Kviris Palitra’ was more moderate and balanced than other publications or TVs.

Q. – I think mass media shouldn’t be punished for being impartial or balanced...

M.M – I assure you that nobody will be punished and moreover – for impartiality. ‘MediaPalitra’ is a serious organization, I know the management and I believe the documents will be in order. The law about ‘Financial Agreement’ has been in force for two years. In case the company has liabilities, it addresses the tax service and they can agree on a lesser sum. This isn’t a country where Publishing House may face some hindrances.

Q. – One of these days Inga Grigolia, the City Council deputy recalled when tax service entered the ‘Rustavi 2’ and your declaration that it was a pressure on media. What has changed now?

M.M. – At that time the motivation for entering ‘Rustavi 2’ was different. It was not inventory.

Q. – But what was it?

M.M. – Entering of tax service was to be followed by closure of the TV Company. It happened in 2001 when the situation in the country was leading to radicalization. The ‘Imedi’ TV Company was being set up. I remember it well why the bosses of ‘Imedi’ decided to create a TV Company. It had to become an alternative for ‘Rustavi 2’. TV Company ‘Mze’ was set up at that time and it was financed by Badri Patarkatsishvili. At that time the authorities wanted to close ‘Rustavi 2’. Today the authorities have no such motivation.

Q. – So, if we follow your wording, the authorities don’t want to close ‘MediaPalitra’…

M.M. – Of course not, and God save us, if there are some liabilities there are lots of ways of solving the problem. Internet TV, site, agency and radio are functioning in ‘MediaPalitra’ and on Monday ‘Kviris Palitra’ will come out like other newspapers.

Q. – But can you imagine working condition of those employees of Media House with tax service agents standing overhead?

M.M – Other enterprises are in the same situation and have identical feeling.

Q. – Those who held the ‘MediaPalitra’ supporting action fear that it was nothing else but pressure.

M.M. – This action has once again proved that Georgia is a democratic country. If people expressed their support to ‘MediaPalitra’, we aren’t against ‘MediaPalitra’.

Q. – Representatives of authorities didn’t come to support ‘MediaPalitra’.

M.M. – Tax service officers didn’t come either to close the Media Holding, they came to fulfill their duty. Why are we talking in advance about the hypothetical problems?

Q. – ‘MediaPalitra’ management feels confident but many unforeseen events happen in our country, especially with regard to media space…

M.M. – Believe me, nobody wants to create problems for ‘MediaPalitra’. I can indulge myself and give an interview to whoever I consider appropriate and I’m pleased to give an interview to ‘Kviris Palitra’ because I know it will be published in a balanced newspaper that reflects mine as well as my opponents’ position.

Generally, I collect internet information from ‘InterPressNews’. When speaking about the casualties of May 26, I mistakenly mentioned one person and ‘Palitra TV’ journalist made the story without asking me for comments. I got angry at ‘Palitra TV’ but through your agency – ‘InterPressNews I expressed my stand, not showing my discontent to anybody. You are the first I’m sharing this with. Indeed, free as well as oppositional media must exist in the country.

Q. – To which of the two types belongs ‘Palitra’?

M.M. – ‘Kviris Palitra’ is an impartial, balanced newspaper. The same can be said about other publications and agencies.

 

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