MEPs send letter to BiH authorities regarding the Public Service Media

European Parliament's Session; Photo: European Union

BRUSSELS – In a joint letter to the authorities in Bosnia and Herzegovina, twenty-four MEPs expressed concern about the situation of public service media in the country. Sixteen MEPs from the S&D group, four MEPs from the ALDE group, two members of the Group of the Greens/European Free Alliance, and two members of the EPP group warned the authorities in BiH of the possible risk of disintegration of the national broadcaster BHRT. Such prospect is at odds with the European future of BiH, MEPs state, urging the authorities in BiH to secure the independence of PSM and its financial sustainability.

Here you can read the letter in its entirety.

Dear members of the Presidency, Parliamentary Assembly and Council of Ministers of Bosnia and Herzegovina,

Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) are alarmed about the situation of Public Service Media (PSM) in Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) and warn Bosnian authorities, should an adequate decision for the financing of PSM not be adopted by the Parliamentary Assembly by the end of June 2017, the system and in particular the national broadcaster BHRT, is at great risk of disintegrating.

A collapse of the national public broadcaster is unacceptable for the country, which is a member of Council of Europe and is entering negotiations for membership within the European Union. BiH would become the only European country without a public service broadcaster, which is against European standards and values.

Therefore, the MEP’s call on BiH authorities to fulfil the EU and CoE standards and secure:

–  independence of PSM;

–  immediate financial sustainability of the PSM system;

– immediate amendments of the existing legislation or its replacement with another appropriate legislation, ensuring immediate and proper interim solutions;

– ensure proper entities’ PSM, based on ethnic specifics of the constitutive nations, which will not serve mainly the governments or parties in power and which will affirm the life and the creativity of the population and prevent ethnic divisions, and instigation to hate speech;

– support to the national broadcaster BHRT as factor of synergy, instrument of democratic dialogue between different ethnic groups in BiH and their mutual understanding, trust and affirmation, based on impartial, independent, balanced, professional and highest quality content, prepared by multi-ethnic staff and equally using all language versions in BiH.

The MEP’s signatories of this appeal urge the European Commission to take note, supervise and assist in these activities.

The letter was signed by the following MEPs – Tanja Fajon, Soraya Post, Jens Nilsson, Ivan Jakovčić, Brando Benifei, Olle Ludvigsson, Ivo Vajgl, Birgit Sippel, Sylvie Guillaume, Igor Šoltes, Demetris Papadakis, Javier Nart, Petra Kammervert, Jozo Radoš, Ana Gomes, Afzal Khan, Knut Fleckenstein, Cristian Dan Preda, Julie Ward, Maria Grapini, Eduard Kukan, Bart Staes, Peter Niedermüller, and Jasenko Selimović.