IAPA concerned over possible new tax imposed on the press
(IAPA/IFEX) - The following is a 15 March 2001 IAPA press release:
The IAPA concerned over new tax to be imposed on the press in Argentina
Fortaleza (15 March 2001) - The Inter American Press Association expressed its great concern after suggestions that certain government sectors in Argentina are calling for changes to the tax regulations, which would result in newspapers and magazines being subject to the Added Value Tax (Impuesto al Valor Agregado, IVA). The government had previously promised to resist using such a measure. President Fernando de la Rúa has always maintained that the imposition of taxes on the press should be avoided, as this can endanger the plurality of information.
"We hope that the government will fulfill its commitment not to adopt such a measure, which would be injurious to press freedom. Being faced with an additional tax would be an unsustainable burden for the written press. The media play a vital role in democracies by providing a plurality of information," said President Danilo Arbilla upon his arrival in Fortaleza, Brasil. The IAPA's meeting, during which the state of press freedom in the Americas over the last six months will be examined, is being held in this city.
Arbilla added that "the IAPA is not asking for special privileges for the written press." He clarified that the Argentinian press already pays IVA on paper and advertising.
"We hope that the Executive will promptly refute these suggestions, as the Argentinian newspapers are already facing a serious crisis," said Arbilla, director of the publication Búsqueda, from Montevideo, Uruguay. "Raising the price of each copy and thus making it even more difficult for readers to have access to newspapers goes against the fundamental principles of press freedom."
This will be one of the most important topics that the hemispheric organisation will debate during its meeting in Fortaleza. It is expected that an additional IAPA resolution will be issued, calling on President De la Rúa to adhere to the precepts of press freedom, since a new tax would put the survival of a number of newspapers and magazines at risk.