Bosnia-Herzegovina profile - Media

  • 25 March 2016
  • From the section Europe
Bosnian newspapers Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Journalists in Bosnia work under pressure from the state and political parties

During the Bosnian war, most media became propaganda tools of the authorities, armies and factions. Since then, efforts have been made - with limited success - to develop media which bridge ethnic boundaries.

TV is the chief news source. The most influential broadcasters are the public radio and TV stations operated by the Bosniak-Croat and Serb entities. These are effectively under the control of the ruling political parties and tend to reflect their views.

The Office of the High Representative (OHR), the leading international civilian agency in Bosnia, oversaw the development of national public broadcasting. The OHR wanted to create a non-nationalist, civic media.

There are more than 200 commercial radio and TV stations. They operate within a weak advertising market. But annual advertising revenues in broadcasting are still around 10 times the figure for print media.

Sarajevo is home to Al-Jazeera Balkans TV, an offshoot of the Qatar-based pan-Arab news network. It broadcasts in Bosnian, Croatian and Serbian.

There is free access to local and global information sources. But media outlets and journalists are prone to pressure from state bodies and political parties in both the Bosniak-Croat and Serb entities.

In 2015, US-based Freedom House categorised the media as "partly free". The human rights monitoring NGO noted that although the constitution guarantees freedom of the press, self-censorship is pervasive - few journalists are prepared to risk engaging in critical reporting, as such reporting tends to lead to lawsuits and the withdrawal of financial support.

There are more than 2.3 million internet users (, 2016) - a figure that represents 61.6% of the population. Online activity is concentrated among younger people and there is no filtering of online content.

Social media has played a key role during public protests.

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