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The European Union Heads of Mission in Bosnia and Herzegovina sent a letter on 1 October, 2013 to the institutions of Bosnia and Herzegovina expressing a number of concerns on freedom of expression and of media.
The first point is related to the Draft Law on Amendments to the Law on RTRS, adopted in the first reading at the Republika Srpska National Assembly (RSNA) on the 18th of July, and on the Agenda of the 30th session of the RSNA.
The proposed amendments give cause for serious concern as they introduce the possibility for the financing of the entity broadcaster, RTRS, from the budget of the RS government. This would be contrary to the state Law on Public Broadcasting System (PBS) which prescribes only two sources of the financing for the PBS - RTV tax and advertising revenue.
This measure risks to further open the way to a dependence of a public broadcaster on government sources, thus undermining the broadcaster's independence.
The proposed change in the procedure for selecting the Steering Board members of the RTRS is also a concern. It envisions the selection of the Board members in the RSNA, and all four of them in one year. Because depoliticization and editorial independence of the public service broadcasters remain a high priority for the EU, the Delegation of the EU/EU Special Representative Office has already expressed its views on such a practice in the summer last year, when the FBiH Parliament attempted to appoint all four members of the Board members of the RTV FBiH directly in the FBiH Parliament.
In the letter sent, the European Union Heads of Mission in Bosnia and Herzegovina have emphasised their support for the recent efforts of the three public broadcasters in drafting the Statue of the PBS Corporation. Considering that the establishment of the PBS Corporation would secure more cost-effective and stable financing of the PBS via both legal sources – RTV tax and advertising – this is welcome.
It is expected that the state and entity authorities show a determination to fully implement the requirements of the reform of the public broadcasting system.
The Law on PBS of BiH must be implemented until it is changed. Any change needs to ensure the strengthening of the PBS, as well as its editorial independence and financial stability, which is crucial for the fulfilment of the public service remit and the capacity of BiH to fulfil the Copenhagen political criteria.
The EU Heads of Mission in Bosnia and Herzegovina emphasise in their letter that it is high time to seriously consider that freedom of expression and freedom of media are among the key indicators of a country's readiness to become part of the EU. The dedication to this value shows countries' commitment to democracy, good governance and political accountability. In this context, the state and entity parliaments in BiH need to take up their unique role in meeting European standards in media legislation. EUropa
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Povezane vesti na srpskom
Συναφείς Ειδήσεις στα Ελληνικά