On Monday 29 January 2007, Ambassador Dimitris Kourkoulas paid his first official visit to the Public Broadcasting System (PBS) facilities.
Mr. Mehmed Agovic, the new General Director of BHRT – Bosnia and Herzegovina Radio and Television – welcomed the Ambassador and presented an overview of PBS development over the recent years. BH Radio One was launched five years ago, while two and a half years ago television BHTV1 began broadcasting through the Entities network, as BHT did not yet have its own channel. Today it broadcasts 19 hours of programming a day over its own channel, reaches over 90% of the country’s population and is among the five most viewed channels. Mr Agovic attributed this success largely to the support given by the EC.
Mr. Nebojša Hasanbašic presented an overview of the technical equipment donated by the EC which has been purchased through four tenders between 2001 ad 2006. This has included repairing existing or installing new transmitters and repeaters, including antennas; purchase of spare parts and vehicles for field repairs; a digital satellite link and digital platform which allow the BHT signal to be seen throughout Europe; FM receivers for radio transmission; state-of-the-art digital studio equipment, etc. The new and up-graded transmission infrastructure also benefits Entity Radio and Televisions.
EC support has also enabled BHT to implement programming projects, including a series called “Press Club Dayton”, which consisting of twelve episodes in which journalists and politicians discussed their views on how to move from Dayton to the era of Brussels. Another special programme entitled “War Epilogue” was broadcast following the BBC series “The Death of Yugoslavia” and documented what had become of the leaders since then. “In Transition” was a special competition which allowed young screen-writers and directors to present their ideas. Three completed films and ten screenplays were selected, giving young talents a unique opportunity to air their points of view and work. Ambassador Kourkoulas viewed segments of these programmes on a DVD presentation.
Following the review of past activities, Ambassador Kourkoulas thanked all the PBS teams for the excellent co-operation over the past five years and wished the new Director the best in his mandate. He stressed that EC support to the PBS indicates the importance it holds in the country’s European perspective. The EC plan to continue its support – the priority for 2007 will be production while for the period 2007-2009 it is foreseen to support the development of overall production capacities.
He added that BiH is now in a new phase of its relations with the EU, but PBS reform is a precondition for signing the Stabilisation and Association Agreement.