Bosnia and Herzegovina last compete at Eurovision 2016, and have been unable to compete since 2017 due to sanctions from unpaid debt. Now broadcaster BHRT has confirmed that the sanctions remain. The broadcaster says they are still not in a good position to repay the debt.

In a statement to local TV channel N1, the broadcaster confirmed that they had been “under EBU sanctions since 2017 due to debts of around 6 million Swiss francs” — approximately 5.5 million euros.

The sanctions mean that BHRT cannot take advantage of EBU’s member services, including participation in the Eurovision Song Contest. It also means that BHRT can’t even broadcast Eurovision.

BHRT made it clear that as a public broadcaster, they did not have the ability to pay off the debt on their own. The broadcaster continues to look to the government for assistance. The broadcaster said:

“Unfortunately BHRT does not have the financial means to finance the participation of representatives of Bosnia and Herzegovina in this most spectacular and expensive TV show in the world.”

The broadcaster relied on funding from citizens via the television licence fee, but they say this isn’t enough. Bosnia and Herzegovina viewers are supposed to pay only €3.80 per month — but only half the viewers actually pay their licence fee.

“Only with the support of the economy, state bodies, institutions, citizens and joint investment in a product called Bosnia & Herzegovina’s representative at the Eurovision Song Contest could we quickly expect Bosnia and Herzegovina to return to this competition because the Eurovision Song Contest is not just a competition for the best song, the Eurovision Song Contest is much more than that.”

However, the broadcaster confirmed that the EBU allowed them to screen last year’s Eurovision substitute show Eurovision: Europe Shine a Light.

Bosnia & Herzegovina’s EBU sanctions

Bosnia and Herzegovina last participated at Eurovision in 2016, when Dalal & Deen feat. Ana Rucner & Jala privately funded the entry “Ljubav je”. Prior to that, the country had previously participated at Eurovision 2012, before withdrawing due to financial difficulties.

In 2017, the Head of Delegation said that due to financial difficulties, it would be “highly irresponsible” for the broadcaster to participate at Eurovision.

In 2018, the broadcaster confirmed that they were now able to compete in Eurovision or Junior Eurovision as the EBU — a non-profit broadcasting union — had placed them under sanction due to outstanding debts.

At the time, an EBU spokesperson confirmed, “I am afraid that BHRT is currently denied access to all EBU services due to its high levels of debt to the EBU”.

This is not the first time that the EBU has sanctioned a member broadcaster. In 2016, Romania was disqualified from participating at Eurovision in Stockholm due to unpaid debts by the Romanian broadcaster TVR. The sanction was lifted after the government paid off TVR’s debts, and thus Romania returned to the contest in 2017.

In 2017, the EBU briefly sanctioned the Macedonian broadcaster MRT for the same reason. However, the sanctions were lifted a week later and FYR Macedonia participated in both Junior Eurovision 2017 and Eurovision 2018.

What do you think? Should the state government help BHRT repay its debts to the EBU? Who would you like to see represent Bosnia and Herzegovina at Eurovision?

Read more Bosnia & Herzegovina Eurovision news here

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Alex
Alex
2 months ago

I don’;t miss Bosnia Herzegovina but I’m sorry they can’t participate. Their entries were interesting (disliked the 2016 one). I feel that Balkans have lost their power during the last few years.

PP77
PP77
2 months ago

They have money when was war in Bosnia and participated in ESC in that war years from 1993 to 1995. now they don t have money. I don t belleve in that.

PP77
PP77
2 months ago

They will comeback when Turkey comeback.

Elm
Elm
2 months ago

I hate how EBU doesn’t even seem to care about Bosnia & Herzegovina’s absence. Like come on, they gave us masterpieces like “Lejla”, “Bistra voda”, “Rijeka bez imena” etc. We need them back ASAP. 🙁

Denis
Denis
2 months ago
Reply to  Elm

They care but what can they do, except for waiting for BHRT to pay debts?

Euro Fan
Euro Fan
2 months ago

I am also nervous about if Czech Republic withdraws from Eurovision 2022 after failing to qualify for the final with a very poor result!!! 🙁

Last edited 2 months ago by Euro Fan
sam
sam
2 months ago
Reply to  Euro Fan

go check their results from 2007 to 2015

Euro Fan
Euro Fan
2 months ago
Reply to  sam

I checked. There were poor too. There was 0 points in 2009.

Denis
Denis
2 months ago
Reply to  Euro Fan

and you think one non qualifier is reason to withdraw?
Ireland hasn’t been in final in years, yet they still compete..

Euro Fan
Euro Fan
2 months ago
Reply to  Denis

Well, Ireland has won 7 times overall, that’s why they have unable to withdraw. While Czech Republic failed to qualify in the first 3 years among last places.

Quiet
Quiet
2 months ago
Reply to  Euro Fan

Unable to withdraw? Is there some sort of threshold of wins that a country must meet before they’re locked in Eurovision against their will? Ireland can withdraw whenever they want

Euro Fan
Euro Fan
2 months ago
Reply to  Quiet

Oh! If Ireland withdraws…

Eugenie
Eugenie
2 months ago

In moments like that I really start to hate capitalism. Why people ,who want and deserve more – have less due to financial problems ,while people who don’t want and don’t care about it have enough money to do everything they want?

Euro Fan
Euro Fan
2 months ago
Reply to  Eugenie

Me too, capitalism sucks.

esc_fl
esc_fl
2 months ago
Reply to  Eugenie

I want Bosnia and Herzegovina to come back as well, but I don’t see why it’s an excuse to hate capitalism

Euro Fan
Euro Fan
2 months ago
Reply to  esc_fl

Yes I do hate capitalism, there are anti capitalist participants that competed Eurovision too

Last edited 2 months ago by Euro Fan
lol
lol
2 months ago
Reply to  Euro Fan

sounds like a you problem

Polegend Godgarina
Polegend Godgarina
2 months ago
Reply to  Euro Fan

pls go live in venezuela or cuba and enjoy your communism along with the very happy, wealthy and carefree inhabitants of those countries which surely do not have some of the worst emigration problems in the world!

AdD
AdD
2 months ago

There is A LOT of wiggle room between unfettered capitalism and communism, you know that, right?

Eugenie
Eugenie
2 months ago
Reply to  esc_fl

Because it’s kinda unjust that the ones who can bring talent and authenticity and brought them constantly have to withdraw, because of damn money.

esc_fl
esc_fl
2 months ago
Reply to  Eugenie

I think capitalism does play a role in the good organization and maintenance of the contest, but I can see why countries like Bosnia and Herzegovina and Montenegro as well may be negatively impacted. If public interest in the country is high, hopefully Bosnia and Herzegovina can come up with a creative way to sponsor and showcase their entry!

Rifki
Rifki
2 months ago

does BHRT know that there are always sponsors to cooperate with? Bulgaria’s participation this past year was sponsored, and will likely remain so for next year.

Elvir Pelesevic
Elvir Pelesevic
2 months ago
Reply to  Rifki

They do. But sponsors can’t pay such a huge debt. BHRT needs a more reliable source of income to recieve as people don’t pay their taxes and politicians really don’t care to find a functional solution to this problem.

Chessguy99
2 months ago
Reply to  Rifki

Bulgaria has twice the population. Sponsors want the highest amount of publicity for their investment. More population, more visibility.

Shane
Shane
2 months ago

The issue seems to be that Bosnia & Herzegovina should make the fee for their public broadcaster to be paid withing taxes, so it would be more reliable source of income to receive, since people would be paying their taxes and then after the government gets it, it goes to BHRT.

Also some public broadcasters are allowed to have ads, so that could be one source of income as well.

willchrisiam
willchrisiam
2 months ago
Reply to  Shane

Trust me, they know. The whole Balkan is already heavy on the ads.

willchrisiam
willchrisiam
2 months ago
Reply to  willchrisiam

Actually I’m not sure about Slovenia…

Euro Fan
Euro Fan
2 months ago
Reply to  willchrisiam

Me neither. I’m not sure about Albania and North Macedonia either.

Last edited 2 months ago by Euro Fan
willchrisiam
willchrisiam
2 months ago
Reply to  Euro Fan

North Macedonia is amongst the bigger offenders and if I remember correctly Albania loved their adds as well a few years back. Slovenia is the only one I have no experience with.

Euro Fan
Euro Fan
2 months ago
Reply to  willchrisiam

North Macedonia struggled to withdraw from Eurovision each year, especially in 2018, glad they have participated in 2018 and even every year since semi finals introduced despite their bad results in some years. I think Albania participated every year like Latvia does, although Albania have withdrawn their debuting application in 2003 despite they’re likely to participate that year, Latvia had originally withdrawn in 2009, but I am glad they’ve didn’t withdrew that year. Not sure about Slovenia though… Hope Slovenia will participate!

Last edited 2 months ago by Euro Fan
Erasmus
Erasmus
2 months ago
Reply to  willchrisiam

there are ads in Slovenia… they are not so often tho… during a film there is none and during a one-hour show, for example, we have ads like 3 x and they last around 3/4 minutes…

willchrisiam
willchrisiam
2 months ago
Reply to  Erasmus

No ads during a movie? What kind of sorcery is this?!
I don’t watch local tv but I know my mom has enough time to take a shower, moisturize, grab a glass of water and make the bed before the ads end. ?

Last edited 2 months ago by willchrisiam
Sot
Sot
2 months ago

Oh… Ok then… No problem, I’m alright
*proceeds to cry at the corner for 10 minutes*

Seriously tho I want Bosnia back so badly and I don’t even know when that day will come!

Aeria
Aeria
2 months ago

You’d end up wondering whether Bosnia will ever be able to pay back the debts at all

willchrisiam
willchrisiam
2 months ago

It’s shocking that they were even allowed to accumulate such a debt in the first place. The fact that they are still allowed to operate without paying it off is ridiculous. I love their enthusiasm but that’s some questionable management.

Azaad
Azaad
2 months ago

Rather than trying to win Turkey back by possibly reducing the juries (yikes), I wish the EBU would make a concrete effort to bring back Bosnia and Herzegovina because unlike Slovakia and Luxembourg, they seem like they want to return (the broadcaster at least).

Sot
Sot
2 months ago
Reply to  Azaad

I think they’re not putting much effort because, even if we’re talking about percentages, Turkey is much more of an economically supportive participant and Eurovision needs MONEY to survive, that’s why the Big-5 are still there after all!

Azaad
Azaad
2 months ago
Reply to  Sot

I get that.

Rose
Rose
2 months ago

Disappointed but not surprised.