Population 3.7 million
Area 51,129 sq km (19,741 sq miles)
Major languages Bosnian, Croatian and Serbian
Major religions Christianity, Islam
Life expectancy 73 years (men), 78 years (women)
Currency convertible marka
President: The presidency rotates every eight months between a Serb, a Bosniak (Bosnian Muslim) and a Croat.
Bosnia-Herzegovina is recovering from a devastating three-year war which accompanied the break-up of Yugoslavia in the early 1990s. The 1992-1995 conflict centred on whether Bosnia should stay in the Yugoslav Federation, or whether it should become independent.
It is now an independent state, but under international administration. Its three main ethnic groups are Bosniaks (Bosnian Muslims), Croats and Serbs. The war left Bosnia's infrastructure and economy in tatters. Around two million people - about half the population - were displaced.
The 1995 Dayton peace agreement set up two separate entities; a Bosniak-Croat Federation of Bosnia and Hercegovina, and the Bosnian Serb Republic, or Republika Srpska, each with its own president, government, parliament, police and other bodies. Overarching these entities is a central Bosnian government and rotating presidency. In February 2016 the country formally requested to join the European Union.
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.
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. 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.
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