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13.03.2017

BA: Commercial contracts for collection of RTV tax?

Radenko Udovičić

On 20 December 2016, the Journalists Association and the Transportation and Communication Committee of the House of Representatives of the Parliamentary Assembly held a conference in the Parliament building on ways of providing a sustainable system of funding for the Public Broadcasting System.

An interim solution proposed at the conference was a model of collecting radio and television tax through electricity bills and it was suggested to members of the Broadcasting System Steering Board, as well as heads of the three public broadcasters, to hold talks with relevant people at the three main power companies to conclude contracts on collection of the tax. As there had been no consent in Parliament either to extend the current model of collection or to come up with a new model, the head of the Transportation and Communication Committee suggested that no more time be lost in waiting for a new law and that instead the public services ensure collection through so-called commercial contracts with power companies. However, it is hard to expect the three power companies to agree to this without legal enforcement. Or, if they do, they will charge a high commission of five percent, or even more, for this service.

Parliamentarians and representatives of the government, the Communications Regulatory Agency, media organizations and public broadcasting services participated in the conference.

Conference participants called on Parliamentarians to create legislative prerequisites for a successful collection of the tax, including sanctions for citizens who do not fulfill this obligation.

Conference participants also called on the Council of Ministers to urgently intervene financially and settle a part of debts to the European Broadcasting Union (EBU) to avoid the possibility of the Radio and Television of Bosnia-Herzegovina (Radiotelevizija Bosne i Hercegovine) being thrown out of the international organization’s membership. Namely, due to debts of over six and a half million marks (approximately three and a half million euro) to EBU, the public services are no longer receiving material from the international TV exchange.

It was also pointed out that governments on all levels should work hard to fulfill the Council of Europe’s recommendations on ensuring institutional autonomy and editorial independence of public broadcasters in Bosnia-Herzegovina.

Radenko Udovičić, Director of the Media Plan Institute, Sarajevo

More:

Look here for more information about the conference in Serbian or Bosnian language.

 



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