Digital age in BiH doesn’t exist

Digital age in BiH doesn’t exist

Belgrade, June 17, 2015/ Independent Balkan News Agency

By Mladen Dragojlovic

BiH is the only country in the region which didn’t fulfill the standards for digital TV signal and become the only country in region with analog TV.

The deadline for digitalization was today but, after many years of warnings that this will happen, the responsible institutions in BiH were like dreaming. Several attempt were made by Republic of Srpska Radio TV (RTRS), but Communications Regulatory agency (CRA) banned them from starting digital broadcasting, because it was not in accordance with previous agreements between three public broadcasting services RTRS, Bosnia and Herzegovina Radio TV (BHRT) and Radio TV of BiH Federation (FTV). Along with this problem several others occurred on administrative basis, so authorities didn’t have power to order this process to all public services. RTRS, in the meantime, was accused of demanding to have equipment in its ownership, despite the fact that it was purchased by state institutions.

But, RTRS is not, and cannot be, the only culprit for a situation like this. Since the state decided to start the process of the digitalization of the TV signal, several important decisions were adopted but there was no political will for their implementation. Also, a great deal of time was spent on tenders for the selection of the company that will be assigned do this job. Tenders were annulled and, after a few attempts, one Croatian company was selected. Even at the time of the selection it was already evident that the job would not be completed on time.

The first victims of the lack of BiH entering in digital age are the citizens near the border with Serbia. At midnight, June 17, one transmitter had to be switched off because the analog signal disturbed the digital signal in Serbia. In this way citizens in the eastern part of country cannot receive BHRT signal. Similar problems are expected in other parts of the country where the analog signal from BiH disturbs the digital signal in another country.

“Colleagues from Serbia had legitimate request and we had to switch off one transmitter, on location of Veliki Zep, which broadcasted an analog signal, confirmed to media RAK assistant manager”, Sinisa Petrovic.

He added that Serbian partners were fair because they made a plan of digitalization in such a manner as to minimize the damage on the analog signal in BiH. He estimated that a large number of citizens will be affected by the lack of digitalization because they still use analog systems and don’t have the means to acquire cable TV.

In a difficult political, economic and social situation, this is just one of the questions which BiH will have to solve in order to get just one step closer to the EU.