Culture

Tax exemption may trap journalists, union head says

The bill exempting journalists from income tax – now awaiting only Romanian President Klaus Iohannis’ approval – is the wrong solution to a nonexistent problem, László Szűcs, president of the Union of Hungarian Journalists in Romania, told news portal maszol.ro in an interview.

The bill initiated by the Social Democratic Party (PSD), the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats (ALDE) and the People’s Movement Party (PMP) was approved last week by the lower chamber of the Romanian Parliament: 174 yes, two no votes and 91 abstentions. It would exempt journalists as well as radio and television technicians from paying income tax.

Szűcs said that the bill would be of the greatest benefit to the country’s best-paid journalists, while it would also make it much more difficult for a “privileged” media to demand proper and equitable solutions to social problems, as the exemption can be construed as a bribe from the establishment.

“The press is in a special situation, and it would be unfortunate for journalists to be in a privileged position,” Szűcs said. “How will we be able to raise our voices against other privileged strata of society; how could we demand an equitable sharing of burdens?”

He added that journalists didn’t actually ask for the tax exemption, but now it would be quite difficult for them to fight against it.

“This bill in effect creates a trap because it is obvious that anyone (from the media) would not be popular among colleagues if they voiced their objections to the law or said that this is not the best way to ensure long-term material recognition of their work,” Szűcs said.

Shortly after the bill passed in Parliament, a group of 13 prominent Romanian journalists sent a petition to President Iohannis asking him not to sign the bill into law for many of the same reasons as the ones mentioned by Szűcs.

Title image: László Szűcs, President of the Union of Hungarian Journalists in Romania. (source: kulter.hu)

 

Author: Dénes Albert