The EBU has expressed its concern at the continued indebtedness of its Member Radio and Television of Bosnia and Herzegovina (BHRT) which now owes the organization over CHF 6 million.
With the 2016 UEFA European Championship approaching, the EBU is unable to continue pre-financing sports rights on behalf of BHRT. Unfortunately, with a substantial debt already built up, it will no longer be able to fund sports rights and offer additional Member services to the broadcaster unless a solution to the funding crisis can be found by the end of the month.
BHRT is facing financial collapse, due to insufficient and insecure funding, which prevents it from meeting its public service remit.
The EBU has met with government officials numerous times over the last two years to attempt to resolve funding issues and has been working with BHRT to establish a payment plan to reduce the level of debt. Unfortunately neither of these initiatives have been successful to date.
EBU Director General Ingrid Deltenre said: “We believe strong public service media is important to social cohesion and a key ingredient to nation building. However we are a not-for-profit Member organization and we cannot allow the debts of BHRT to continue to accumulate at the expense of fellow broadcasters across Europe.
“We will continue to work with BHRT and the state to try and resolve their financial difficulties and find a long term solution to funding PSM in Bosnia and Herzegovina.”
The issue was discussed at a conference – The Future of Public Services in the Western Balkans: Never-Ending Transition - in Sarajevo last week.