IAPA asks Argentine president to exempt small, mid-sized publications from full VAT

MIAMI, Florida (September 17, 2003)—The Inter American Press Association
(IAPA) today called on Argentine President Néstor Kirchner to exempt small
and medium-sized newspaper publishing companies from having to pay value added
tax (VAT) at the top rate, saying this could put their very existence at risk.

In a message to Kirchner the president of the IAPA’s Committee on Freedom
of the Press and Information, Rafael Molina, urged him to take immediate action
to authorize the exemption.

“I write to you to express our concern because if you do not intervene
small and medium-sized Argentine newspapers very shortly will face a situation
that puts their financial viability in danger,” wrote Molina, editor of
the Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, news magazine Ahora.

He added that while other small and mid-size Argentine companies are subject
to favorable tax rules, the publishing companies were inexplicably omitted from
these some years ago and such discrimination was now a serious setback.

The IAPA had previously protested the tax burden, which it says could bring
serious consequences for freedom of the press, as the disappearance of small
and medium-sized publications would mean a curtailment of an independent press
and would limit access to other sources of news and views.

“Given your insistence on the need to respect the plurality of information,
and to have it respected,” Molina told Kirchner, “we request your
urgent intervention to prevent the consequences of a situation that would seriously
affect small and medium-sized publications and all those that are published
in the Argentine provinces.”

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