The South East Europe Media Organisation (SEEMO) expressed deep concern regarding information that state public broadcaster of Bosnia and Herzegovina (BHRT) will stop airing its program starting 30 June 2016. The reason behind this temporary closure is said to be the difficult financial situation the broadcaster has been facing.
Falling revenues were mentioned as the primary argument for this decision made by the BHRT board of directors. Tax revenues have been decreasing yearly, mainly because of low income rates among the population. According to the board, entity television networks RTRS (Radio-Television Republika Srpska) and FTV (Radio-Television of the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina) allegedly failed to transfer some of their own tax revenues to BHRT.
“We are deeply concerned about this unfortunate turn of events” SEEMO Secretary General Oliver Vujovic said earlier. “We must insist that authorities in BiH in charge of the public broadcaster and its subdivisions come up with a stable and long-term solution for the network. Public broadcasters play an important role in democratic societies, and shutting BHRT down will prevent the public from receiving vital information even if the closure is temporary. BHRT was the only public broadcasting service for all parts of the country, as RTRS and FTV are public broadcasters covering parts of the country,” Vujovic added.
SEEMO is a network of editors, media executives and leading journalists in South, East and Central Europe and its press freedom work is supported by the European Centre for Press and Media Freedom (ECPMF) project, as part of a grant by the European Commission.