Fans of Laka, Regina, Dino Merlin and Maya Sar better grab some tissues: It doesn’t look like Bosnia & Herzegovina will return to Eurovision any time soon.
Earlier this month, as Eurovision drew to its glittering climax, the European Broadcasting Union (EBU) issued a strongly worded statement warning that the Bosnian Public Service Broadcaster is “close to collapse”. EBU director Ingrid Deltenre blamed the government for failing to devise a sustainable funding model and for delaying the implementation of stronger media law. “I urge authorities to respect and support public media rather than undermine their independence and credibility,” she wrote.
The public broadcaster includes BHRT, which has traditionally fielded the nation’s Eurovision contestants. As a result of its funding issues, BHRT must delay its switch from analog to digital distribution. In that regard they are so 2007.
Bosnia & Herzegovina at Eurovision
Given all that, we can understand why BnH may choose to sit Eurovision out again in 2016. That will mark its fourth straight absence. The former Yugoslav republic last participated in 2012, when Maya Sar performed their swan song “Korake Ti Znam”.
In early November 2014, after a two year absence from Eurovision, a Bosnia and Herzegovina comeback seemed possible. The EBU had extended the country’s application deadline, and rumours swirled that stars such as Hari Mata Hari and Regina could represent them. But on November 17 the country’s national broadcaster confirmed that they would not make the trip to Vienna. Eurofans wept.
BHRT published the following statement on their website at the time.
Given the very difficult financial situation within BHRT, and a drastic drop in license fee collection, we have withdrawn from the Eurovision Song Contest, which will be organized next year in Austria.
As announced, the only way for the participation of Bosnia and Herzegovina at the Eurovision Song Contest was to find the necessary sponsorship funds, BHRT failed in the necessary time to find this type of financial support.
Eurovision Song Contest will be held in Vienna from 19 to 23 May next year, without the representatives of Bosnia and Herzegovina.
The broadcaster pulled a similar stunt in 2013, when they also made a preliminary application to participate only to subsequently withdraw.