Archive for April 16th, 2010

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Freedom of the press……..or press for free?

April 16, 2010

Well dear readers, there has been a little incident over in Lviv……hardly surprising as it is a nationalist heartland………which has been bubbling away for a few days now……..relating to the beating of journalists.

This is not the beating of journalists as evident in the Kuchma days but does draw some similarities to alleged incidents in Odessa from reports of a very pro-Kremlin organisation based here a while ago when their media outlet failed to comply with certain licensing laws.

This of course was reported by them as journalistic opression by the administrations of Yushenko and Tymoshenko via the Odessa Amdinistration.

The incident at the time was caught on camera and published on the Internet…….however, the actual incident was not caught on camera as claimed and the alleged injuries also not shown.  Such is the standard of journalism and reporting in Ukraine unfortunately.  Never let the truth get in the way of a good story or be so selective with the facts that a biased opinion is presented in an almost plausible way…….unless the reader happens to have a memoery slightly better than a goldfish and can remember reports of other media outlets which contradict. 

This, unfortunatley, be the paper written in English, Russian or Ukrainian seems to be the lowest but standard denominator for Ukrainian journalism, regardless of the owners nationalities.

Anyway, back to Lviv, where the following occured……….

Ukrainian News The State Tax Administration in Lviv region has decided to hold internal investigation into the incident with journalists of the Express newspaper in Lviv, the administration said.

The report said that the employees of the administration have several time summoned the leadership of the newspaper in the frames of the case opened upon profit tax dodging forHr 2.6 million.

The heads of the newspaper ignored the summons and thus were forcefully brought to the administration.

When an accountant was brought to the building of the administration there occurred an incident between the editor-in-chief Ihor Pochynok and administration representatives accompanying him.

As Ukrainian News earlier reported, on April 13, about 100 employees of Lviv Express newspaper blocked the traffic on the Kyiv-Chop highway outside Lviv and demanded the investigation into the attack of policemen on journalists of the publication.

The newspaper said that five policemen beat the journalists and broke a video camera.

The Investigation is personally controlled by the head of the State Tax Administration in Lviv region Kostiantyn Zinkevych.

So what happened here will never be known other than by those who were there of course.  The Express will make obvious anti-adminstration claims against the State and the State will claim they had no choice but to use force to bring the newspapers owner to answer charges of tax avoidance.

Where the State surpressing the freedom of journalists or are the press trying to provide journalism for free, avoiding taxes?

Given that the Express is a regional paper and given that there are far more vocal and national media outlets which are anti the new administration, it seems likely, in this case , that the taxes are owed and as usual the event was deliberately turned into a media circus……..about the media.

There is little doubt that the taxes of the Express, its owner or its employees will be correct as to be honest…….I don’t think anyone in Ukraine understands the existing tax regime including those who enforce it.

I pay my taxes here and the tax people are happy………but I don’t think either of us are sure if I pay too much, too little or the right amount…….but to be fair, if I am summonsed once I will go as soon as possible and not wait to be dragged before the tax police!

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