|| Růžový panter - nevládní protikorupční organizace 2002 – 2017
28.02.2011 Press Release of non governmental anti-corruption organisation the Pink Panther
dated 22nd February 2011: KPMG Czech Republic company, recently mentioned in connection with the case of SFŽP (The State Environmental Fund of the Czech Republic) and a suspicious tender for the running of the laundry in Kolín organised, according to the invitations sent to selected journalists, a „Japanese evening“ with Japanese specialities and geisha performance in the Samurai restaurant.
According to the statement of the organising agency Native PR it is a traditional informal meeting of representatives of the KPMG management and the journalists which is viewed as thanking for cooperation.
Non governmental organisation the Pink Panther, although it is aware of the fact that such phenomenons are not exceptional, would like to point at the corruption potential which necessarily occurs when organising similar actions. The journalists who should be particular about their impartiality and objectivity should not be exposed to situations which evoke the impression of any kind of commitment. Such action entirely surpasses the concept of a regular press conference which is accessible to all journalists and during which a modest refreshment is served, not flamboyance and a feeling of commitment in the relationships between public sector and the journalists. We would also like to point out at the inappropriate invitation of addressing only selected journalists. Social events to which journalists are invited selectively, do not inspire reliance in the principle, especially if they are organised particularly for them and the company or institution owes the public a number of explanations regarding its actions. We asked several respected journalists if they have received the KPMG invitation and none of them has been invited. If the Native PR company talks about „thanking the journalists and building and strengthening the relationships with journalists“ then it is not clear for which services are these selectively chosen journalists thanked for and which relationships are talked about. The Czech Republic should in such cases get inspired for example in the Netherlands which, according to our findings, solves the risks connected with the creation of the feeling of commitment of a publicly active person towards the „host“ by setting a limit of approximately 17 Euros for accepting a petty present of refreshment while the journalists also keep within this limit. The amounts exceeding tis limit must be paid by the organizer so the impression of commitment is not created and the neutrality is respected. Journalists fundamentally influence public opinion and it is their duty not to allow such behaviour which might compromise their objectivity. The companies and institutions which do not understand this or do not want to understand it, do not create the impression of effort to keep tactful relations. Codes of ethics for journalists universally remember the inapropriateness to accept gifts and benefits which could in their principle influence the behaviour of a journalist, but the wordings in the code are usually vague. We believe that adherence to certain limits would be beneficial to journalists and public agents in the Czech Republic. In the future we could avoid a number of situations that are considered rather embarassing by respected journalists and public agents. Native PR company denied that this action was organised in order to establish closer relationships with selected journalists and attempting to influence the image of KPMG in media after the published scandals. From the Native PR point of view it is a common traditional event. To the objection of the Pink Panther organisation - why hasn´t the KPMG Czech Republic published the required information about the suspicious tender for the running of the laundry in Kolín to refute the doubts about the manipulation with the contract and to avert the suspicion of the attempt to influence selected journalists, we were told that KPMG intends to publish the docummentation regarding the disputed tender only after eventual court ruling because allegedly they do not want to solve this problem over the media. We regard such procedure as extremely inappropriate and confirming the reluctance to behave transparently in the area of public procurement. We repeatedly draw the attention of the American Chamber of Commerce to this phenomenon, because the company KPMG Czech Republic has joined the Platform for transparent public tenders. According to the current statement of Markéta Kydličková from the office of the director of Zařízení služeb ministerstva vnitra ( Arrangement of Services for Ministry of Interior), company KPMG Czech Republic has already been asked to release all the documentation regarding this suspicious tender. Our organisation recovers this information from ZSMV through a standard legal procedure. Note: Marek Vomočil stated on the invitation as a producer of the „Japanese evening with KPMG Czech Republic“ refused to tell the Pink Panther organisation, how many journalists have accepted the invitation.