January 4, 2024

04.01.2024 – BHRT Faces Financial Crisis

Bosnia and Herzegovina’s public broadcaster, the Radio and Television of Bosnia and Herzegovina (BHRT)(https://www.bhrt.ba/), is encountering a significant financial crisis.

The broadcaster has underscored the imminent difficulties arising from the lack of an agreement for the collection of the Radio Television (RTV) tax in the Federation BiH, one of the two entities composing Bosnia and Herzegovina.

In written communication, BHRT emphasized the unpredictability of its existing RTV fee revenue, resulting in the accrual of losses that impede the funding of program-related responsibilities. The agreement with Elektroprivreda BiH, the government-owned electric utility company, for the collection of RTV taxes, was set to conclude at the close of 2023 and a new one has to be signed.

The problems of BHRT are not new. One year ago BHRT informed the public, that in 2022 there was a decrease in income from the RTV tax of nearly 800,000 BAM (409,642 EUR), and as a result of the blocking of the account from the Federation BiH Tax Administration, BHRT was left without 1,400,000 BAM (716,874 EUR).

Adding complexity to the situation, Radio Television of Republika Srpska (RTRS), the public broadcaster in Republika Srpska, another entity composing Bosnia and Herzegovina, has outstanding debts to the Federation exceeding 80 million BAM (approximately 40,964,221 EUR). RTRS completely ignores the legal obligation to distribute revenue from the collected RTV tax in Republika Srpska, BIH, and since mid-2017 has not paid any money to the BHRT’s account.

Additionally, according to BHRT, the Radio Television of the Federation (RTVFBIH) of Bosnia and Herzegovina owes also money. On the other side, RTVFBIH says, that it does not have a single debt towards BHRT

Furthermore, BHRT encounters difficulties in compensating its staff, as two-thirds of its workforce, comprising technical personnel and videographers, receive salaries below 800 BAM (approximately 410 EUR) per month.

The South East Europe Media Organisation (SEEMO) is worried about the developments connected to BHRT and asks all authorities in Sarajevo and Banja Luka to urgently solve the financial problems of the only national-wide public broadcaster and EBU member.

South East Europe Media Organisation (SEEMO) is a regional non-governmental, non profit network of editors, media executives and leading journalists in Southeast, South, East and Central Europe. SEEMO members are in Albania, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Estonia, Georgia, Greece, Hungary, Kazakhstan, Kosovo, Kyrgyzstan, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Moldova (with the territory of Transdnestria), Montenegro, North Macedonia, Poland, Romania, Russia, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Türkiye / Turkey, Ukraine and Uzbekistan. Austria, Italy, Vatican and San Marino have a special status in SEEMO. SEEMO has over 3000 individual members, and additional media as corporate members.

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