In the exercise of the powers vested in me by Article V of Annex 10 (Agreement on Civilian Implementation of the Peace Settlement) to the General Framework Agreement for Peace in Bosnia and Herzegovina, according to which the High Representative is the final authority in theatre regarding interpretation of the said Agreement on the Civilian Implementation of the Peace Settlement; and considering in particular Article II.1.(d) of the last said Agreement, according to the terms of which the High Representative shall “Facilitate, as the High Representative judges necessary, the resolution of any difficulties arising in connection with civilian implementation”;
Recallingparagraph XI.2 of the Conclusions of the Peace Implementation Conference held in Bonn on 9 and 10 December 1997, in which the Peace Implementation Council welcomed the High Representative’s intention to use his final authority in theatre regarding interpretation of the Agreement on the Civilian Implementation of the Peace Settlement in order to facilitate the resolution of any difficulties as aforesaid “by making binding decisions, as he judges necessary” on certain issues including (under sub-paragraph (c) thereof) “measures to ensure implementation of the Peace Agreement throughout Bosnia and Herzegovina and its Entities”;
Bearing in mind the exhortations of the Peace Implementation Council in the Luxembourg Declaration of 9 June 1998, drawing the parties’ attention to the importance of a Public Broadcasting System in Bosnia and Herzegovina and urging them, in order to achieve such an objective, to cooperate with the High Representative in the restructuring of Radio-Television of Bosnia and Herzegovina;
Noting that since its inception, the Peace Implementation Council has consistently called for the creation and adoption of laws and regulations governing the media which are fully consistent with relevant international agreements and recalling further that the Peace Implementation Council defined the requirements of these laws in the Madrid Declaration, dated 16 December 1998, wherein it specifically called for the adoption of legislation in both Entities that enshrines the principles of editorial independence, religious tolerance and financial transparency in all media sponsored by public funds;
Recalling that in line with the above exhortations and as a result of lack of progress on the part of local authorities to adopt the appropriate public service broadcasting legislation, the High Representative issued the Decision on the Restructuring of the Public Broadcasting System in Bosnia and Herzegovina on 30 July 1999 establishing the public broadcasting system and two of its three component public broadcasters, the Public Broadcasting Service of Bosnia and Herzegovina and the Radio-Television of the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina and imposing the Law on Radio-Television of the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina;
Recalling further that the said Decision acknowledged Radio-Television of Republika Srpska as the public broadcaster for Republika Srpska;
Noting that in the said Decision, the High Representative called on the Republika Srpska National Assembly to pass the text of public broadcasting law forwarded to it by the Government of Republika Srpska respecting internationally recognized standards of public service broadcasting;
Recalling that the Peace Implementation Council, in the Brussels Declaration of 23/24 May 2000, noted the need for citizens to be well informed in order to be active participants in shaping their country and called for a public service broadcasting sector with strong and viable competitors that would help ensure the public’s right to know and stimulate vigorous public debate and a culture where public opinion serves as a check and balance on institutions;
Noting that as a result of the parties’ failure to meet their obligations to create and adopt appropriate public service broadcasting legislation, despite agreement to the contrary, the High Representative continued the restructuring process by issuing a Second Decision on Restructuring the Public Broadcasting System in Bosnia and Herzegovina dated 23 October 2000;
Observing that the Steering Board of the Peace Implementation Council in its Communiqué of 30 October 2001 recognized the launch of Federation Radio-Television as an important step in implementing the High Representative’s Second Decision on Restructuring the Public Broadcasting System in Bosnia and Herzegovina to develop a state level public broadcasting service for all the citizens of Bosnia and Herzegovina;
Further observing that in its Communiqué, dated 7 May 2002, the Steering Board of the Peace Implementation Council reiterated its support for the High Representative’s strategy to restructure the public broadcasting system in order to develop state level public broadcasting for all citizens of Bosnia and Herzegovina. The Steering Board acknowledged the need for effective legislation to make the public broadcasting system independent and sustainable in line with Council of Europe standards, noting that this is also a key requirement of the European Union Road Map;
Recalling that in the same Communiqué the Steering Board also noted the expression of support by the Alliance for Change for the current public service broadcasting draft legislation and exhorted the High Representative and the Council of Ministers of Bosnia and Herzegovina to use every effort to ensure as soon as possible the implementation of a public service broadcasting law according to European standards;
Recalling the following progress of the authorities of Republika Srpska on the creation and adoption of public service broadcasting legislation:
In line with the above exhortations, the Government of Republika Srpska signed on 13 February 1998 an agreement that established a set of interim arrangements for the restructuring of Srpska Radio-Televizija in accordance with European standards of public service broadcasting;
On 31 August 1999, the High Representative issued a Decision amending the Law on Radio-Television of Republika Srpska (formerly Srpska Radio-Televizija);
During the summer of 2001, a new draft law on Radio-Television of Republika Srpska, consistent with European standards of public service broadcasting, was created by a joint working group consisting of members of the Government of Republika Srpska, the Board of Governors of Radio-Television of Republika Srpska and the Office of the High Representative;
In February 2002, despite exhortations from the High Representative to the contrary, the Government of Republika Srpska replaced this consensus draft with a version not in accordance with European standards and, after its adoption thereof, forwarded it to the Republika Srpska National Assembly for its consideration;
After public debate on this law, the Republika Srpska National Assembly Commission for Constitutional Issues claimed that certain solutions in the draft law on Radio-Television of Republika Srpska threatened to jeopardize the vital interests of Bosniaks and Croats and referred the draft law to the Office of the High Representative for decision thereon;
Noting that the Public Broadcasting System functions as an integral unit, with the laws on Radio-Television of the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina and Radio-Television of Republika Srpska supporting and operating in harmony with the Law on the Basis of the Public Broadcasting System and on the Public Broadcasting Service of Bosnia and Herzegovina;
Having considered and borne in mind the totality of the matters aforesaid, I hereby issue the following:
1. Imposing the Law on Radio-Television of Republika Srpska, as hereinafter set out.
2. The Law on Radio-Television of Republika Srpska imposed by this Decision shall replace the extant law of the same name (O.G. Republika Srpska 23/99).
3. Unless specifically varied by this Decision or the Law enacted hereby, previous Decisions of the High Representative on media shall continue in force unless or until the High Representative shall decide otherwise.
4. The Law which follows shall enter into force pursuant to Article 60 thereof but on an interim basis until such time as the Republika Srpska National Assembly adopts the same in due form, without amendment and with no conditions attached.
5. This Decision shall come into force forthwith and shall be published without delay in the Official Gazette of Bosnia and Herzegovina and the Official Gazette of Republika Srpska.
Sarajevo, 23 May