BHRT suspends part of RTV FBiH's program production, entity broadcaster calls on BHRT “to be reasonable”

NEWS 07.05.202416:25 0 komentara

The Management Board of Radio-Television of Bosnia and Herzegovina (BHRT) has decided to temporarily suspend services to Federal Radio-Television of Bosnia and Herzegovina (RTV FBiH) starting from Wednesday, May 8, 2024, at 6:00 AM. Pročitaj više

These measures are being implemented due to unpaid debts by RTV FBiH to BHRT for invoiced services, from December 2023 to May 6, 2024, which have made BHRT's operations challenging.

The debt owed by RTV FBiH to BHRT as of May 6, 2024, is 1,590,971.69 BAM. Meanwhile, the debt owed by BHRT to RTV FBiH on the same day amounts to 364,511.50 BAM.

This decision pertains to all services except:

  • Services for the production of the Daily News and Radio and Television News;
  • Mail pickup services for RTV FBiH, for which further distribution within the RTV House in Sarajevo will be the responsibility of the Radio-Television of the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina.

“We are aware of the weight and seriousness of this decision, but in the interest of all employees and the functioning of BHRT, and due to the inability to reach an agreement with the management of RTV FBiH, we were forced to make this decision because previous requests for debt settlement had no effect,” the BHRT Management Board stated.

In the event of debt settlement, these temporary measures will be revoked, according to the BHRT announcement.

RTV FBiH calls on BHRT “to be reasonable”

Following the announcement, the Management Board of RTV FBiH called for “common sense and cooperation from the BHRT Administration, instead of further deepening the crisis and jeopardizing the operations of both Public Services based in Sarajevo, leading to the suspension of RTV FBiH's core activities.”

“By withholding the production of FTV's political programs, citizens of the Federation and Bosnia and Herzegovina are deprived of the opportunity to understand the views, ideas, and plans of key figures on the domestic political scene, which directly violates their constitutional right to information. Simultaneously, it denies our workers their constitutional right to work, causing significant material damage to RTV FBiH. The Management Board of Federal Radio and Television warns that the announced actions by BHRT would have unforeseeable consequences for partner private and public companies that rely on RTV FBiH's programs for their core business activities. For all these reasons, the legal responsibility of the BHRT leadership and the potential liability for damages in this case are clear. That's why we again call on the BHRT Administration to be reasonable,” reads the statement from RTV FBiH's Management Board.

They recall that before the cessation of fee collection and distribution on December 31, 2023, they were regularly meeting their obligations and intend to do so again as soon as the RTV fee distribution is re-established on a legal basis.

“We remind that over more than 200 previous months, we paid over 100 million BAM to BHRT. The BHRT Administration is well aware that we have not been able to meet these obligations for the past four months due to the loss of the RTV fee as our primary income source, for which BHRT is responsible due to its failure to sign the RTV Fee Agreement on December 31, 2023. We paid for all services for over twenty years, and now, because we haven't paid for the last four months for justifiable reasons, BHRT has decided to shut down the RTV Federacije BiH program. This is unacceptable in business and every other form of ethics, and when it comes to public services, we fear it could even constitute a criminal act. During the same period when we were deprived of the RTV fee, BHRT received 4 million convertible marks from the relevant Ministry to continue its operations, not to quickly spend the entire amount and start shutting down the federal public service's programs,” FTV stated.

They called on BHRT to sign the Agreement with Elektroprivreda BiH, which they assert would “guarantee legal distribution of the RTV fee on the one hand, and on the other hand, enable BHRT to increase its revenue by several million marks annually, as FTV has proposed through concrete internal agreements between the two broadcasters over the past two months.”

“We don't understand why BHRT persistently rejects such proposals without offering any other legally-based alternative. We reiterate that implementing these proposals would enable the uninterrupted broadcasting of both public broadcasters, ensuring salaries for all employees and maintaining the existing legal frameworks that guarantee a unified Public Service in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Through this statement, the Management Board calls on all relevant institutions and individuals to prevent the shutdown of RTV FBiH's Public Service programs,” concludes RTV FBiH's statement.

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