Parliamentary Finance Committee chairman Kimmo Sasi (Nat. Coalition Party) has vehemently defended the proposal to introduce value-added tax (VAT) on newspaper and magazine subscriptions, which currently have no VAT.
In Parliament, the government parties will soon push through the proposed bill to impose a 9% VAT levy on journal and newspaper subscriptions.
According to Sasi, in this matter the printed media has been heard a lot.
“As far as the press lobbying for their cause, rarely have I seen such a counterproductive performance.”
In Sasi’s opinion the press “have a tendency towards arrogance”.
“Because we can write whatever we want about the politicians, they have to dance to our tune”, was the way he described attitudes in the branch.
Sasi shrugged off the fears of the possible consequences of the tax.
He reckoned that Helsingin Sanomat and the provincial newspapers with a monopoly status will continue to do well. In Sasi’s opinion the price rise estimates presented to Parliament were “completely off-target".
Sasi questioned the claims by the press that democracy itself would suffer and the quality of mass communication would be weakened.
Sasi also wondered if furthering democracy indeed rested so squarely on the shoulders of the domestic press.
He said that unfortunately the Finnish politicians are these days obliged to read the Financial Times if they want to keep up with what is happening with the euro crisis.
Reading Helsingin Sanomat alone is simply not enough, even though the paper “is pretty good when it comes to reporting on domestic politics”.
From local newspapers Sasi found “a certain amount” of incompetence.