A Bosnian Serb party said the new chief of the country’s Communications Regulatory Agency should be a Serb, but the minister responsible insisted that ethnicity should not be an issue.
A row erupted after the Alliance of Independent Social Democrats, SNSD, a party from Bosnia’s Serb-led entity, Republika Srpska, insisted that the next head of the agency that regulates the country’s broadcasting and telecommunications sectors and allocates frequencies should be a Serb.
‘Due to an earlier party deal on the principle of national [ethnic] rotation in institutions of Bosnia and Herzegovina, a candidate from the Bosniak people should not be elected [as the agency’s chief],’ said Dusanka Majkic of the SNSD.
The SNSD said it had made the deal with the Social Democratic Party, SDP, of which Bosnia’s Communications Minister Damir Hadzic is a member.
But Hadzic said that ethnicity should play no role in the appointment.
‘No reservations – especially for any people’s representative,’ he said, explaining that he wanted an expert to be given the chief regulator’s job and was willing to delay the appointment if necessary.
‘If some appointments have to be stopped, like many things halted in the Council of Ministers over disagreements from ministers from Republika Srpska, we will keep to that trend and we will not make any appointments,’ Hadzic said.
The opposition in Republika Srpska, the Serb Democratic Party, SDS, said that the SNSD’s statement was an attempt to assert control over the media by the entity’s President Milorad Dodik and his party.
‘Dodik is not hiding he wants to put the CRA [Communications Regulatory Agency] under control. That represents the additional possibility of pressure on media,’ said SDS leader Mladen Bosic.
Dodik ‘holds the public broadcaster in Republika Srpska under absolute control and is bothered by independent media’, alleged Bosic.
‘If he installs his man [at the CRA], there is nothing left of the CRA’s independence,’ he added.
The current director of the CRA, Kemal Huseinovic, has held the position for more than ten years due to the lack of agreement among the ruling parties about who should take over the position. The term in office is officially supposed to be four years.