Unusual tax check in “Lvivska gazeta”
1. Leaders of “Lvivska gazeta” conducted a press conference, at which they declared that the pressure had been exerted on their newspaper by the State tax administration (STA) of the Lviv oblast during a plan tax check of the edition. “Unfortunately, the methods applied by the tax officers testified that they had some other goals except the routine check of documents. It seems that this was a part of the total pressure on the newspaper, which, in our opinion, has the political reasons”, the newspaper collective states. According to the words of editor-in-chief Oleg Onisko, the plan check has been carried out since 6 June. The editor insists that the tax inspection makes its best to destroy the newspaper. In particular, he tells, the representatives of the tax inspection checked all companies, which have the agreement with the newspaper, and the firms, which were merely mentioned in the edition. Yuri Nazaruk, the commercial manager of “Lvivska gazeta”, informed the IMI that the representatives of tax inspection exerted pressure also on the private distributors of the newspaper. “80% of these people have not and never had the license for selling newspapers, but the tax inspection notices that only when the distributors start to sell our newspaper”, he pointed out. O. Onisko explains the political motives of this situation: association “Dzyga”, the founder of the newspaper, is loyal to the fraction “Nasha Ukraina”.
Sergiy Medvedchuk, the head of tax administration of the Lviv oblast, stated at the press conference that “Lvivska gazetra” underwent “a usual plan check”, and that all appeals and articles concerning the newspaper were, in his opinion, “an advertising trick for increasing the run”.
The IMI directed a request to Yuri Kravchenko, the head of the STA of Ukraine. Unfortunately, the editorial board did not turn to the IMI in time with the request to take part in the check. So, the IMI cannot apply the Memorandum signed by the IMI and the STA of Ukraine, since this document envisages the participation of the IMI in the plan checks, if the editorial board agrees this question with both the IMI and STAU in 10 days.
18 July 2003, Institute of mass information, «Barometr svobody slova», July 2003
2. Open appeal of the newspaper “Lvivska gazeta”
The editorial board of the Lviv newspaper “Lvivska gazeta” must make public the appeal concerning the situation that was observed during the regular tax check of our newspaper. Unfortunately, the methods used by the tax officers testified that they had some other goals, not only the routine check of documents. This is a part of the total pressure on the newspaper, which, in our opinion, has the political reasons.
During the tax check the inspectors phoned to the advertisers and partners of our newspaper. Later we learned that it was caused by the mentioning of various firms not only in the advertisements, but also in common articles. These people were summoned for talk, the tax officers demanded from them to present the documents on the cooperation with our edition. At the same time, similar documents of the newspaper were not examined. Service cars of “Lvivska gazeta” are permanently escorted by the representatives of tax inspection. The private salesmen of newspapers are questioned about the number of copies that they get and sell. At that, only those salesmen are checked, who sell the newspaper “Lvivska gazeta”. The inspectors explain honestly that the sale of this newspaper is the reason for the checks.
There is another interesting fact: the illegal tax checks of the cultural-creative center “Dzyga”, a founder of “Lvivska gazeta”. The tax officers work without proper documents, and this, according to the operating laws, may be a reason for starting a criminal case. They orally demand to show them the internal documents of the firm and refuse to prove the legality of their demands. They even refuse to introduce themselves. The local officials of the State Tax Administration do not respond to the written requests from “Lvivska gazeta” and “Dzyga”.
Several days ago a significant incident occurred in Kolomyia (the Ivano-Frankivsk oblast), which demonstrated “the professionalism and objectivity” of the tax officers. A small trader, who, among other editions, sells the newspaper “Lvivska gazeta” was accused of the cooperation with our edition since March 2000. The absurdity of the situation lay in the fact that the first issue of our newspaper was published on 16 September 2001, and the newspaper began to be sold in the Ivano-Frankivsk oblast only in spring of 2003.
We suppose that the current situation is a consequence of the principal position of “Lvivska gazeta” and the publication of the series of the materials containing the unbiased information concerning some representatives of tax inspection and people close to them. We also think that the actions of tax officers are a part of the campaign directed at “settling the order” in the informational space of Lviv and the Western Ukraine on the eve of Presidential election.
It is extremely difficult to work and to publish a daily newspaper under the conditions of permanent tension and mental stress.
The editorial board of “Lvivska gazeta” has already turned to the National Union of journalists of Ukraine (Igor Lubchenko), Monitoring Committee of the PACE (Hanne Severinsen) and profile committee of the Supreme Rada of Ukraine (Mykola Tomenko) asking to help the newspaper in this situation.
(“Prava ludyny” (English version), July 2003)