Bosnia and Herzegovina: EFJ denounces interruption of public broadcaster FTV

0
90
Source/Author: EFJ

The European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) joins its affiliate in Bosnia and Herzegovina, the Bosnia-Herzegovina Journalists’ Association (BHJA), in demanding the reactivation throughout the country of the federal public channel FTV, whose TV and radio broadcasts were interrupted at 6am on 8 May following a decision by the management of the public broadcaster BHRT in a financial dispute between the two entities.

The EFJ and BHJA denounce the mess that has led to the interruption of FTV’s broadcasting, in a context of irresponsible political interference contrary to the public interest. We call on the journalists of the two public broadcasters to demand the resignation of their management, which appears incapable of resisting political pressure and guaranteeing the funding and independence of the public media.

Following the recent MFRR mission to Bosnia Herzegovina, the EFJ had already denounced the unstable funding and lack of independence of the public media. The risk of BHRT’s self-destruction intensified at the beginning of this year, leading the management to take decisions contrary to the public interest.

“It is completely incomprehensible that two public broadcasters, headquartered in Sarajevo and housed in the same building, should resolve important issues of public broadcasting and financial survival by blackmail and drastic measures such as cancelling programmes or withholding public money,” reacted the BHJA Steering Committee. “The illegal and unreasonable decisions of the two managements represent a direct violation of the citizens’ right to freedom of information and access to public information, and a violation of the employees‘ right to free, paid and dignified working conditions”.

“We call on the public authorities to guarantee the funding and independence of the public media BHRT, FTV and RTRS, whose existence contributes to media pluralism and which play an essential role as watchdogs of democracy, in particular by denouncing corruption and public mismanagement,” said EFJ Presisent Maja Sever, who will be taking part in a press conference on the subject in Sarajevo on Sunday.