A statement on the Georgian Revenue Service’s audit of MediaPalitra

10 Jun, 2011

The Media Advocacy Coalition is carefully watching developments around audit of MediaPalitra. We do not question the right of the Revenue Service to check the financial records of a taxpayer. However, we are concerned about reports that the activities of the Revenue Service, which has conducted simultaneous inventories in four enterprises and is planning to do financial audits in six other entities of the holding, have hindered and delayed the circulation of MediaPalitra’s magazines and newspapers.

Furthermore, we are concerned that the current audit might be used to put economic pressure on the media holding in an attempt to limit its editorial independence.

Media Palitra is one of few independent while economically successful media holdings on the Georgian market. The MediaPalitra holding includes several newspapers and magazines, a press distribution company, a FM radio station, a news agency and an Internet TV provider. With only marginal financial support from international donors, MediaPalitra has managed to maintain and defend its editorial independence for almost 20 years.

The Media Advocacy Coalition is concerned that the Revenue Service’s audit may be connected to Palitra’s critical news coverage of the May 26 violent police crack-down on protestors on Rustaveli Avenue. Several Palitra journalists who covered the police action were hindered in their work. Malkhaz Chkadua of the InterPressNews agency, a member of the holding, is among the journalists who were detained on May 26. Darejan Paatashvili, a journalist of the holding, was insulted and beaten by police that night. Avtandil Surmava, a cameraman working for Palitra, was deprived of his camera. The coalition insists that the cases of violence against these and other journalists be investigated.

We hope that the Revenue Service’s activities are conducted fully in line with the Georgian law and in no way connected to the journalistic reporting on recent events provided by Palitra. Therefore, the Coalition will continue to closely monitor the lawfulness and transparency of the financial audit and will inform international organizations and interested public on the results.

Media Advocacy Coalition.


“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.”-civil.ge. read further