The proposed legislation, unveiled by the prime minister’s office last week, consists of amendments to the law on electronic communications and the law on audiovisual media, and its declared aim is to rein in online “defamation.”
The first set of amendments would reinforce the agency that oversees the communications market, tasking it with keeping a “register of online media” and ensuring that operators “respect their obligations toward national security [and] public safety”.
The second set of amendments would task the Albanian Audiovisual Media Authority with ensuring that online media are not “biased” and do not publish content that “damages public morale” or could “incite penal offences.”
The letter warns that if the proposed legislation is passed, it will seriously impair the free flow of information, will have a chilling effect on online media and will restrict the public’s right to access information.
Albania is ranked 75th out of 180 countries in RSF’s 2018 World Press Freedom Index.