International television network Al Jazeera will buy Sarajevo-based broadcaster Studio 99 with a view to establishing a regional center for the Balkans in the Bosnian capital. Al Jazeera will take over the radio and television channel from the Sarajevo city government, which acquired it several months ago under a plan to establish a public broadcaster for the city.
“Al Jazeera will establish a regional office in Sarajevo which is expected to lead to the creation of new jobs,” Sarajevo mayor Alija Behmen told journalists. Mr Behmen said that the international TV network will pay the city some €163,000 to compensate for the amount the local government had already invested in the failed broadcaster.
Studio 99 was established as a private radio station in 1992 and gained recognition for promoting the values of multi ethnicity and multiculturalism during the country’s 1992-95 war. It started television broadcasting in 1994. Over the years it has won support from many international organisations, but after international funding dried up in late 1990s, the channel failed to achieve financial sustainability. It was taken over by the Sarajevo government last year in a move which was widely criticized by Bosnian media, which accused city authorities of wanting to turn the failed broadcaster into their mouthpiece.
(Source: Balkan Insight)