The Council of Ministers of B-H has decided to extend the current method of user fee collection for Broadcasting Services via telecom operators until 30th of June. By doing so, they accepted the amendment to the B-H Public Broadcasting System Legislation due to numerous appeals by the Public Broadcasting Services. This decision, supported by the force of law, creates a five month transitional period to find a stable method of public services funding. However, it is clear that intensive negotiations not only about the problems of collecting the Public Broadcast fee, but also about its overall structure, are about to begin.
The Council of Ministers instructed the Ministry of Communications and Transport and the Broadcasting Services System Committee to work together on finding a lasting solution for a stable source of public broadcasters funding in B-H. The public broadcasting system in B-H consists of three stations, two entity broadcasters (RTRS and RTV FBiH) and one national broadcaster (RTV B-H).
Yesterday the media reported about a B-H Croat political institutions’ demand for a complete transformation of B-H broadcasting service system to create three separate ethnic channels – Bosnian, Serbian and Croatian.
Media experts believe that this would additionally complicate the already complex broadcasting system in B-H, both in a political and organizational sense. However, representatives of the two strongest Bosnia Croat parties gave an ultimatum that if such or similar reconstruction does not take place, they will disapprove of any other proposed option that would enable financial viability of the broadcasting system. The official Bosnian Croat political representatives in Bosnia and Herzegovina claim that public services have not been reflecting political and cultural interests of Croats for years.
Since the land-line phones are obviously becoming an outdated communication method, the citizens of Bosnia and Herzegovina are canceling these services on a daily basis, which were billed along with the broadcast service fee.
This cut the revenue of the broadcasting services almost by half in the last two years. The public services will in the next five months be literally struggling to make the ends meet only through broadcasting the news programs and showing re-runs. If a political compromise is not reached by the mid of this year, we will be facing the dissolution of the public broadcasting system as it is, bringing inevitable bankruptcy to some broadcasters and a complete independence to RTRS which will be funded by the Government of Republika Srpska.
Source: Media Plan Institute, Sarajevo
(The Public Service Broadcasting in BiH is a reflection of the peculiar constitutional arrangements of the country, with a state-level public broadcaster – Radio-television of Bosnia and Herzegovina (BHRT), and two entity-level public broadcasters, Radio-television of the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina (RTVFBiH) and Radio-television of the Republika Srpska (RTRS).)
This press release is a contribution of the SEE Media Partnership for Media Development co-funded by the The Civil Society Facility, Media Freedom and Accountability Programme, EuropeAid/134613/C/ACT/MULTI
This document has been produced with the financial assistance of the European Union. The contents are the sole responsibility of the Media Plan Institute and can under no circumstances be regarded as reflecting the position of the EU.