TBILISI, DFWatch — The government is offering TV stations exemption from paying outstanding tax debts. This will mostly benefit two pro-government TV stations.

Acting Finance Minister Alexandre Khetaguri said Monday that broadcasters will be allowed to pay reduced fees for outstanding debts and sanctions.

He said this will contribute to providing equal conditions for broadcasters in terms of fees and will provide stable financial conditions for them, as well as developing competition in the market.

“Broadcasters will have an opportunity to attract new investments,” he said and called on broadcasters to send a letter to the ministry regarding their debts to start discussing how to pay down their tax debts.

But during summer it became known that two pro-government broadcasters Imedi and Rustavi 2 had large debts amounting to 13.9 and 5.5 million lari. This data is kept in the archive of Transparency International Georgia.

The same decision was made in 2010, according to Alexandre Khetaguri. He said central and regional broadcasters made use of the amnesty in amount of 36 million lari. But no official information is available about which broadcasters made use of the exemption.

“No information about the companies benefiting from the amnesty were released but the step was widely believed to benefit mainly Rustavi 2 and Imedi,” Transparency International writes.