Shutdown of public broadcaster in BiH neither a solution nor an option, says OSCE Representative

VIENNA, 31 May 2016 – OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media Dunja Mijatović today repeated her urgent call on authorities in Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) regarding the country’s public broadcasting system, following a decision by the Steering Board of the BiH Radio and Television (BHRT) to suspend all programmes as of 30 June 2016.

“Even a temporary shutdown impedes citizens’ right to receive crucial public information and should not be seen as the solution to financial difficulties,” Mijatović  said. “This situation can only be resolved by fully implementing the law.”

According to the Steering Board, the decision to temporarily shut down its production and broadcasting was necessary because of the lack of political will on the part of BiH institutions regarding the implementation of public service broadcasting.

“I call on the authorities and the steering boards of the public broadcasters to act immediately to ensure the full implementation of relevant laws, and prevent a total shut down of BHRT,” Mijatović  said.

During her official visit to BiH in July last year, the Representative discussed the issue of editorial independence and financial sustainability of public service broadcasters (the public statement is available at www.osce.org/fom/170026).

Furthermore, in 2013, the Representative commissioned a legal analysis of the laws relating to the public service broadcasting system. The recommendations remain relevant and are yet to be implemented (the full legal review is available at www.osce.org/fom/94107).

In addition, the Representative has made several public statements on this issue. They are available at http://www.osce.org/fom/212271, www.osce.org/fom/150191,www.osce.org/fom/98719 and www.osce.org/fom/94212.

Latest news

* - References to Kosovo are without prejudice to positions on status. They are in line with United Nations Security Council Resolution 1244/99 and the opinion by the International Court of Justice on the Kosovo declaration of independence.