october 2000

The local media (again) became a topic in, what seems to be, the final phase of the BiH society reconstruction. I will mention three cases as an example and they are intriguing enough - OBN (Open Broadcast Network), BHT (RTV of Bosnia and Herzegovina) and BRT (Bosniak RTV). Let's take it one by one.

OBN. For several years the International Community constantly pumped in great sums of money into a project called Open Broadcast Network. This Network was presented as a future of the local media system. In just a few moments the future became the past. Right at this moment, OBN is facing a financial collapse. Since they failed to create a self-financing principle over the years, and since they are in great debts, the international financiers decided to withdraw from the project. New finances from the international donors have not been approved. Even those who were OBN donors several years ago, are now taking back their equipment. It is certain - OBN is going down.

The High Representative, Wolfgang Petritsch, declared a new decision on the radio-television system in Bosnia and Herzegovina. The decision defines the way in which the Public Radio-television Service and the Federal Radio-television shall function. This decision de facto promotes the Public Service into a state radio and television. This finally completes the several months long process of reconstruction of BHT which was considered to be a Radio-television of Bosnia and Herzegovina. This definitely divides the media space to Federal RTV, Republika Srpska RTV and PBS - Public Service which shall operate through interaction of the official entity media.

In that sense, it is interesting that the International Community chose to support PBS and entity television systems as future milestones of the local media system. It is not surprising that OBN, (un)official OHR media, lost its finances. The real problem is that nobody will be held responsible for the failure of the project in which millions of DM were invested. Not even the International Community that first "gave birth to" and then participated in the "killing" of OBN.

For the last year BRT - Bosniak Radio and Television was subject to many POO newsletter analysis that seem to be ending. IMC - Independent Media Commission, decided to deny the BRT management the license for program broadcasting. Due to obvious closeness and preference to promote one of Bosnian parties - SDA, unofficially, of course. A side that is very close to BRT is willing to claim that the whole case of canceling BRT is just a concession to "Croat side in B&H" which has recently "lost" EROTEL.