Albania

Albania

Threat from defamation law

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The government stepped up pressure on the media in 2020 by again threatening to approve a new defamation law despite criticism from press freedom organisations and although the Venice Commission advised against it. Blocked by a presidential veto in 2020, this law would likely result in an increase in censorship in a country where the government already restricts journalists’ access to state-held information and uses the allocation of licences to control the broadcast media landscape. The government’s behaviour towards the media encouraged pro-government businessmen and officials to sue journalists, while the use of denigrating language has turned reporters into possible targets of attack. Physical attacks are common and the authorities fail to punish them. At the start of the coronavirus crisis, Prime Minister Edi Rama urged the public to “protect themselves against the media” and refused to help when the pandemic exacerbated the media’s financial problems to the point that newspapers stopped producing print editions for about six weeks. Both broadcast media pluralism and advertising income declined when some programmes were suspended after the government banned more than two people in a studio at any one time. Attempts to criminalise journalism resurfaced when police arrested and roughed up reporters during demonstrations. Two TV channels that are critical of the government and the Tirana city hall, Ora News TV and Channel One, were accused of corruption and participating in organised crime by a special appeal court in the summer of 2020. Interior ministry officials accompanied by police took control of the administration of the two channels in August, claiming that their owner was suspected of drug trafficking. Despite this threat to their editorial independence, media outlets created a platform for ethical self-regulation, the first of its kind in Albania.


83
in the 2021 World Press Freedom Index

Ranking

+1

84 in 2020

Global score

+0.34

30.25 in 2020

  • 0
    journalists killed in 2021
  • 0
    citizens journalists killed in 2021
  • 0
    media assistants killed in 2021
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