Transparency Serbia said on Monday that the Serbian Tax Authority had broken the law by refusing to allow it access to information about its inspection of the media between 2015 and 2017.
“The Commissioner on information of public importance ordered the Tax Authority to provide our organization with data on inspections in companies which are the founders or publishers of 10 media in the town of Bor after determining that there are no legal grounds to withhold that information. Transparency Serbia asked the Tax Authority for data on the inspections in six other cities – Belgrade, Cacak, Kikinda, Loznica, Nis and Vranje,” Transparency Serbia said in a press release.
It said the request for information was made as part of its efforts to determine whether all media were treated equally, adding that it made the same request to the Labour Inspectorate and the Prevention Department which is in charge of fire prevention in the Internal Affairs Ministry.
The research was launched following suspicions expressed about bias in the inspections in the Juzne Vesti and Vranjske news portals.
“The Prevention Department did not reply, the Labour Inspectorate did and the Tax Authority demanded an additional 40 days claiming it had to collect the data and then refused the request saying that we were demanding too much information about taxpayers which it cannot release under the law on tax proceedings and administration,” Transparency Serbia said.