The European Broadcasting Union has imposed sanctions on BHRT the national broadcaster of Bosnia & Herzegovina.
The EBU has today cut off BHRT’s access to the Eurovision News Exchange, the first sanction imposed by the union on the channel. BHRT along with Radiotelevizija Federacije Bosne i Hercegovine and Radiotelevizija Republike Srpske will no longer have access to the EBU’s News Exchange due to the debts owed to the EBU. BHRT is in the middle of a funding crisis brought about by a lack of funding from the countries licence fee.
BHRT has debts to the EBU of over 3 million Euros (6.5 million BAM), the station has been unable to pay these debts due to inaction from the Parliament of Bosnia & Herzegovina. The Parliament did not back a reformed collection of licence fee which would have enabled the broadcaster to pay back the debt and begin to invest again in its services. BHRT states that it is currently “just surviving”.
In June of this year BHRT had been due to shutdown due to a lack of funding, the EBU had threatened to suspend the broadcaster from the Union following in the steps of Romanian national broadcaster, TVR. In the event that BHRT shuts down, the country would be the only in Europe that would not have a public broadcaster, leaving Bosnia reliant on privately owned stations.
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Bosnia & Herzegovina debuted in the Eurovision Song Contest in 1993, at the time the country was at war with Yugoslavia, with the singers having to leave Sarajevo under the cover of darkness to make it to Millstreet, Ireland. The countries best result in the Eurovision Song Contest came in 2006 when Hari Mata Hari made it to the final in Athens and finished 3rd with 229 points, the country received eight sets of 12 points, more than any other country. Bosnia last participated in 2016 where Dalal & Deen feat. Ana Rucner & Jala finished 11th in their semi final and failed to reach the final.