Six Western Balkan journalism organizations call on EU to protect media freedom in Albania – Exit

A letter of concern was sent to the European Commissioner for Neighborhood and Enlargement Oliver Varhelyi, the European Federation of Journalists and the European Broadcasting Union regarding the current situation of media freedom in Albania.

Written by the SafeJournalists Network, comprising over 8,200 members in the Western Balkans, it raised several questions and asked for feedback, support and help.

The first concern was the postponement of the election of the director general of the public service broadcasting (Radio Televizioni Shqiptar-RTSH) for more than seven months.

“We express our concern that there is no substantial justification for the delay in electing a new CEO, whose role is crucial to the performance of RTSH as the only service media. public in Albania. We are also concerned about the proposals of the transitional director of the institution to modify the organizational structure of the RTSH which are in contradiction with his mandate of interim director of transition ”, indicates the letter.

“This transition period could lead to potential abuse of power and distortions in the functioning of RTSH, which could potentially have an impact on overall media freedom in Albania,” SafeJournalists added.

The second concern was the creation of a new Media and Information Agency which will centralize all government communication, monitor media and public opinion, and be headed by Prime Minister Edi Rama’s spokesman. The director will be at the same level as a Minister of State and will report to Rama.

In the letter, Safe Journalists is concerned that this will close the door to journalists, especially investigative or critical journalists, hampering media freedom in Albania.

The letter calls on the EU to react and demand that the government and parliament adhere to international standards and principles of media freedom, including the Copenhagen criteria for freedom of expression. These are an integral part of the EU accession process.

They also called on the EU delegation in Tirana to condemn any attempt to bring about changes that could lead to setbacks and deterioration of media freedom in Albania.

“Albania must ensure that European standards of freedom of expression and the media are respected.

The letter was signed by the Association of Journalists of BiH, the Media Union of Montenegro, the Association of Croatian Journalists, the Association of Journalists of Kosovo, the Association of Journalists of Macedonia and the Association of Independent Journalists of Serbia.

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