Media committee supports VAT reduction on press

Zagreb - The Croatian parliamentary Committee on Information, Computerisation and the Media on Thursday supported a bill on Value Added Tax (VAT) with a majority vote which proposes that VAT be reduced to 5 per cent for daily newspapers.

In the debate that preceded the vote it was heard that VAT should be reduced on all press because if this measure is applied just to daily papers then this would not resolve the problem, recalling a similar measure in 2007 which did not lead to any results.

Croatian Democratic Union (HDZ) MP Suncana Glavak asked why the measure only referred to the printed press. She added that the news agency HINA was subject to a 25% VAT rate yet it was criticised for not being more efficient and competitive to other news portals. She underscored that Hina was faced with numerous problems and recalled that the committee had received a letter in which the recently elected director, who was the former spokeswoman for the Croatian Pensioners' Party - a junior partner in the ruling coalition - Branka Valentic, was accused of not meeting the requirements for this position. She later added that the committee should convene a thematic meeting with representatives of the relevant ministry as well as the national broadcaster HRT and Hina in an effort to make a contribution to improving the situation in the media particularly since the committee was frequently receiving complaints from both HRT and Hina.

Independent MP Josip Kregar said that the committee should discuss a debate on Hina but not the complaints as these should be forwarded to the Petitions and Appeals Committee. The committee did not vote on this question as some members left earlier leaving the committee without a quorum.

Autor: Hina