It has been known for quite some time that public servia media is under pressure in Bosnia-Herzegovina. The majority of the Eurovision fan communicaty learnt so through Bosnia-Herzegovina’s withdrawal from the Eurovision Song Contest and it turned that broadcaster BHRT was in deep financial trouble, including a debt of 20 million euro, bringing them on the brink of bankruptcy.
This was caused by different factors: regional broadcasting partners not paying their debts to BHRT on time, erosion of the license fee and a model for collecting the license fee that no longer works: it used to be collected through telephone bills, but this model expired a year ago and the government, heavily divided among themselves, have not been able to agree on a good model to collect these fees.
That’s why, soon, a lot of international organisations will be holding a conference at the BHRT headquarters in an attempt to save public service media in Bosnia-Herzegovina, who, would BHRT be forced to close down, be the only country in Europe without a public service broadcaster. The different parties coming together are: the EBU, BHRT, the Bosnia and Herzegovina Journalist Association, the Council of Europe, the Office of the OSCE Representative of Freedom of the Media, the European Federation of Journalists and the South East Europe Media Organisation.
Outgoing General Director of the EBU Ingrid Deltenre stated:
“Strong PSM is the bedrock of democratic societies. We urge authorities in BiH to take urgent action to safeguard the future of PSM so it can play an active role in promoting and reinforcing democracy, fostering ethnic tolerance and ensuring social cohesion.”
The conference will take place on the 13th of June in Sarajevo, in one of the BHRT studios.
An official statement from the different parties can be read here.