Palitra media holding incorporates five newspapers; eleven magazines; a news agency; radio station; press distribution agency; book publishing business and printing houses; network of book stores and eleven various websites.
Georgia’s one of the largest media groups, Palitra, started ringing alarm bells on Tuesday evening after several of its firms became targets of a simultaneous tax audit from the Finance Ministry’s revenue service.
Palitra media holding incorporates five newspapers – including the weekly Kviris Palitra, boasting with the largest circulation in Georgia; eleven magazines; news agency InterPressNews; Tbilisi-based FM radio station Palitra; press distribution agency; book publishing business and printing houses, as well as a network of twenty five book stores. The group runs eleven various websites.
The group said through its media outlets on June 7, that six of the firms, mainly printing houses and storages were “sealed off” by the revenue service for “unscheduled inspection.”
The group’s executives were saying that although neither of the targeted firm was a media outlet, such a simultaneous tax inspection on six different firms was “causing suspicion” about possible pressure from the authorities.
Shortly after this news was reported series of statements started coming from various opposition politicians and parties with some calling on the authorities to act in line with law and others condemning “an attempt to terrorize” independent media organization. The news was also followed with series of statements from various Georgian media organizations, expressing solidarity and support towards the Palitra media holding.
A representative of the Palitra holding, Marika Darchia, said on June 8, that ongoing inspection “has slightly hindered the work” of the group. In particular, she said, publishing of some of the newspapers were delayed.
The Revenue Service released a statement on June 8 saying that the inspection was a routine “stocktaking procedure,” which was ongoing not in six, but in four firms of Palitra holding; these four firms are: G.A.P. Ltd.; Color Publishing Ltd.; Poligraphic Materials Ltd. and Publishing Palitra L Ltd.
The Revenue Service said that this “very short and easy procedure” was in no way hindering the work of media outlets and called on the political parties “not to politicize the issue.”
"Stocktaking in the above mentioned organisations from Media Palitra industry are carried out in full compliance with the law; therefore the work process is not delayed," the Revenue Service said. “The process of stocktaking will be finalised shortly and the public will be informed about the results."