The National Tax Administration Agency (ANAF) announced on Tuesday it has seized the accounts of the Romanian Public Television Broadcaster (TVR) and of the Bucharest City Transportation Company (RATB) over the two institutions’ debts to the state budgets.
“Following the inventory of budget claims over large taxpayers, ANAF seized the accounts of TVR and RATB. In the next period, ANAF will proceed the same with the accounts of all large taxpayers who owe the state budget, according to the length of arrears,” reads the ANAF release.
Valentin-Alexandru Jucan, a member of the media watchdog – the National Audiovisual Council – insistently demanded, in a letter sent on Monday to Prime Minister Victor Ponta and to Public Finance Minister Eugen Teodorovici, the freezing of TVR’s accounts on grounds that the institution had not paid its state budget liabilities.
“I am asking you to freeze all the bank accounts of the Romanian Television Broadcasting Corporation, in continuation of the accounts-freezing action taken at the Romanian Bank for Development – BRD by the National Tax Administration Agency. It is time for Romanians to receive some explanations. Today, July 20, due to TVR’s failure to meet the state budget liabilities it committed to under the memorandum signed with ANAF in 2012, the corporation’s accounts, including those operating the wages of TVR staff, have been frozen. It is unacceptable that the TVR management ignores public interest and that the strategic role incumbent on the public television corporation, the editorial content included, is fundamentally affected by the institution’s financial situation,” the document mentioned.
According to the Court of Auditors, TVR’s total public debt amounts to 652,012,000 lei (more than 146.539 million euros).
As for the Bucharest City Transportation Company, on April 6 the municipal councilors approved the increase of the subsidy payable to the company from 530 million lei to 545 million lei.
PM Ponta says tax authorities cannot breach laws to help public TV
Prime Minister Victor Ponta pointed out on Tuesday that the Romanian Television (TVR, the public station) is responsible to the Parliament, which must pronounce on the broadcaster’s financial straits. Ponta mentioned that the tax authorities cannot breach the laws in this case.
“The Romanian Television is responsible to the Parliament of Romania. We [the Government], in 2012 if I’m not mistaken, have intervened through a rescue programme, which we have observed; the television’s management hasn’t. My understanding is they’re hiring some 80 more managers, I don’t know, 84 or whatever. Just that. It’s not an institution subordinate to the Government; we are not entitled to pronounce. The Parliament will pronounce; just that nobody can ask the ANAF to breach the law, because then they would be criminally liable, if they breach the law. It goes the same for everybody,” Ponta declared at an unrelated press conference.
Public TVR News channel to be shut down, TVR News Dept., Sports News to merge
Public TVR News channel will be shut down next month and the News Department and Sports Shows and News Desk of public TVR broadcaster will merge in an effort to restrain the TVR functioning costs, the public television announced in a release to Agerpres on Tuesday.
TVR News content will be taken over by the other TVR channels.
The TVR Administration Council at its Tuesday meeting also discussed closing TVR HD channel and turning TVR 2 station into a high-definition broadcasting one.