Eurovision Song Contest

Bosnia and Herzegovina government attempted to solve deadlock for Eurovision return

Bosnia and Herzegovina government attempted to solve deadlock for Eurovision return Photo credits: © EBU

Bosnia and Herzegovina has been absent from the Eurovision Song Contest (ESC) since 2016 due to sanctions resulting from the broadcaster BHRT’s debts to the European Broadcasting Union (EBU). However, there is interest in returning, and the government has even attempted to help last year.

The debt amounts to around six million Swiss francs, and if paid, Bosnia and Herzegovina could return to the contest. Lejla Babović from BHRT told N1 Info about her discussions with the Minister of Transport and Communications, Edin Forto:

– The procedure is very simple: when BHRT starts to repay the debt or pays off the debt, BHRT can participate in Eurovision. Last year, Minister Forto was very optimistic, so he had several conversations with the EBU because he thought he would easily find funds to help BHRT pay the debt. Unfortunately, in the second half of the year, we witnessed that there is no way to regulate the collection of the radio and television tax, which would allow BHRT to operate normally and, consequently, participate in the Eurovision Song Contest”.

At present, Lejla Babović has no estimate on when the debt repayment might proceed: “It is very difficult to say when we could repay this debt, because currently, we do not even have basic funds for normal functioning, for daily operations. Unfortunately, I believe we are the only country in Europe where the public service at the state level does not have the support of the authorities. In other words, the authorities pass the problem to the administrations, and in all other European countries, the functioning of public services is regulated by laws and is regulated in the country. However, in our country, it seems that someone wants to introduce anarchy and recommends that people agree instead of obeying the law. The law exists, it should be respected, and if we fully comply with it as it is, BHRT would have funds for operations and, of course, for payment obligations to its suppliers and also to the EBU, which over all these years has been one of the great friends of this house, continuing to look out for us despite the fact that we do not pay and have debts”.

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Bernardo Matias

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