BH JOURNALISTS: The decision to turn off FTV screen is unprofessional and socially harmful

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Source/Author: BHJA

Sarajevo, May 8, 2024 – Steering Committee of  BH Journalists Association (BHJA) considers the decision by the BHRT Management Board to deny the technical services for the RTV Federation of BiH (RTVFBiH) is unprofessional and socially harmful, thereby making it impossible to broadcast all-day programme except of the news broadcasts on this public media channel.

BHRT’s decision to black out the screen and silence of radio program at the RTVFBiH from 6 o’clock this morning is based on the facts about the unlawful retention of the subscription at the  on the Federation public broadcaster account, which should have been transferred to BHRT. This public service also blames RTVFBiH for non-payment for previous services, which had a negative impact on the delay in salaries for employees of the state broadcaster and its work in general. However, for the BHJA Steering Committee, it is completely incomprehensible that two public broadcasters, with headquarters in Sarajevo and in one building, solve important issues of public broadcasting and financial survival with blackmail and drastic measures such as cancelling programs or denying public money!? The unlawful and unreasonable decisions by  both managements represent a direct violation of the citizen´s rights on the freedom of information and access to public information, including  a violation of the employees‘ rights  on to free, paid and dignified work.

The BHJA Steering Committee reminds that the financial crisis in all three public services is neither new nor short-term – it is caused by the multi-year, indirect, but also public and brutal influence of political parties on the bearers of public information in BiH. The parties in power for more than a decade supported the carelessness of the founders – the parliaments as well as the government on State and entities level, which was not only reflected in the violation of the provisions on the subscription distribution, but also in the lack of care after the RTRS was placed under political control or the reaction to the RTVFBiH operation without general director and management in their legal mandate. Also, competent government institutions, including the BiH Ministry of Transport and Communications and the Communications Regulatory Agency, have for years and tacitly approved the decision by RTRS to violate the rules for the subscription distribution under existing law, which was the first step in the financial decline of public services in BiH.

First of all, the BHJA Steering Committee requests the immediate cancellation of the BHRT decision and the return of services for the availability of RTVFBiH programs throughout the country.

At the same time, BHJA calls the employees of the two public broadcasters to demand responsibility, including the dismissal of the management that cannot or does not know how to find a solution for financial survival, program independence and protection of the public media  system. In the chaos of political influences, irresponsible behaviour by the PBS management and administration, as well as the status quo supported by the founders and parties in power, only journalists and all other workers of BHRT and RTVFBiH, as well as in RTRS, can be the driving force in seeking permanent solutions for  survival of the PBS as a system in BiH, including three individual public services. In this, they will have  unconditional support by the BHJA and international organizations for the protection of freedom of expression and citizens’ right to public information.

 

Steering Committe of BH Journalist Association