A higher value-added tax (VAT) on daily newspapers will not stop the publication of newspapers. Prime Minister Petr Fiala (ODS) said this today in the Otázky Václav Moravec program of Czech Television (ČT). However, according to the Vice-President of the European Commission, Věra Jourová, the increase in the rate from ten to 21 percent, which the government’s austerity package is counting on, may be liquidating mainly for regional titles.
On Thursday, the Union of Publishers called the government’s proposed increase in the VAT rate for daily newspapers a threat to the newspaper market in the Czech Republic. Fiala is not worried about it. “I don’t really believe that anyone would stop the publication of printed newspapers. In addition, people get access to information through Internet sources, public media are freely available, there is no danger of a disaster,” said Fiala in ČT.
According to Jourová, the new base rate for newspapers puts the Czech Republic “at the top of the European ranking”. “It can be liquidating especially for regional and local newspapers, the trend is more to relieve them,” she said. According to her, printed titles already have a problem surviving after the big shift of advertising to the digital space.
“If we let newspapers die, a lot of people won’t have an alternative to read something that isn’t digital fast food,” said Jourová. The printed media belongs to the information space and fulfills a huge role, especially in the “time of permanent disinformation decline”, added the Czech European Commissioner.
Newspapers are moving to the basic rate under the government’s austerity package, although magazines will remain at the reduced rate. Finance Minister Zbyněk Stanjura (ODS) justified this by trying to give scientific journals a tax advantage. In the tax code, however, they cannot be distinguished from others, for example lifestyle or tabloid.
Fiala explained today that the cabinet wants all items in the basic rate, there must be a social or other reason for inclusion in the lower rate. “Somewhere it can be cumbersome, but it’s a price for that simplicity. There’s logic in it. You pay for simplicity by not picking up every detail,” he stated. In the case of magazines, there are scientific, literary or cultural titles, Fiala repeated the argument of the Minister of Finance today.
Source: Tyden.cz by www.tyden.cz.
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