Following concerns regarding the future of the Bosnian national broadcaster, BHRT, the European Broadcasting Union (EBU) has today revealed that an extension on the original repayment deadline has been made to the 8 June.
Earlier this week, BHRT revealed that production and broadcast would be temporarily suspended from the 30 June due to lack of funding, with debts both to regional partner broadcasters as well as to the EBU being accumulated over an extensive period of time.
As was revealed last week, a debt of around 6 million CHF (€5.5 million) is currently owed to the EBU, with a deadline being set by the organisation to the 31 May following attempts at establishing a repayment plan. However due to recent attempts at finding a solution to the debts, the EBU has decided to extend the deadline to the 8 June, before the start of the European Football Championships.
Speaking of BHRT’s recent turn of events, EBU Director General Ingrid Deltenre revealed:
We very much hope that the government of Bosnia and Herzegovina recognizes the seriousness of the situation and not only commences the necessary reform of the licence fee, but also takes immediate and urgent measures to allow BHRT to continue operations and pay back its debts.
We believe that a strong public service media is the cornerstone of a stable democracy and key to social cohesion. It is indicative of a state’s freedom and media plurality. We urge the European Commission and the international institutions to back us in calling on the Bosnia Herzegovinian government to come up with a credible and long-term solution to funding public service media in the country and supporting this nascent democracy.