BOSNIA AND HERZEGOVINA: SEEMO: Political pressure on 'Radiotelevizija Bosne i Hercegovine' (BHRT)

BOSNIA AND HERZEGOVINA, BOSNIA AND HERZEGOVINA, 14/01/2010

The South East Europe Media Organisation (SEEMO) is worried by political interference at "Radiotelevizija Bosne i Hercegovine (BHRT) - Javni radio - televizijski servis Bosne i Hercegovine, the national public broadcaster in Bosnia - Herzegovina. It is cause for alarm that political and financial pressure is being applied to public service journalists, editors and managers. These pressures are preventing journalists and media executives from carrying out their work professional and independently. 

Under political pressure, Mehmed Agovic, General Director of BHRT, resigned on 30 December 2009. This was not the first time that he has had to resign. Agovic lost his position for the first time, also under political pressure, more than a year ago. A court decision subsequently ordered his reinstatement as the General Director of BHRT. Through his work, Agovic has defended BHRT as an independent broadcasting service offering public information and representing the whole of the country's population.

SEEMO Secretary General Oliver Vujovic said: "It is worrying that politicians are trying through all means to use public broadcasting as a mouthpiece, and for propaganda - particularly as this is happening in a country such as Bosnia and Herzegovina, which is ravaged by national conflicts. SEEMO will continue to strongly monitor the situation of public broadcasting in Bosnia and Herzegovina."

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