Request to drop initiative on amendment of media laws in Albania


The European Federation of Journalists is supporting the initiative of the European Center for Press and Media Freedom (ECPMF), also joined by two other media freedom organisations (PEN International and RSF), to request immediately the Albanian government to drop initiative on amendment of media laws currently being discussed in the country and raising serious concerns about media freedom situation.

The joint-letter sent to Prime Minister Edi Rama says :

Request to drop initiative on amendment of media laws in Albania

Dear Prime Minister Edi Rama,
Dear Minister of Justice Etilda Gjonaj,

Copy: Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe, the Council of
Europe Office in Tirana, Delegation of the European Union to Albania

I’m writing to you on behalf the European Centre for Press and Media
Freedom (ECPMF), the European Federation of Journalists (EFJ), Reporters
Without Borders (RSF) and PEN International regarding the initiative of your
government to amend the media legislation in your country and the procedure
that was followed.

Your government has proposed the following major changes in media regulation:
state regulation of online media and compulsory registration of online media. We
understand that the intent of your initiative is motivated by the fight against
disinformation from unidentified actors trying to influence Albanian public opinion.

Albania is not the only country affected by this problem but in democratic
countries such as Belgium, the United Kingdom, Germany and others, online
media are self-regulated. In addition, the OSCE Representative on Freedom of
the Media has made it clear that “states should not impose mandatory
registration to online media as a precondition for their work which can have a
very negative effect on media freedom.”

Your initiative is against best practices and goes against the recommendations of
the OSCE which raises our deepest concern. If the current draft laws are passed
by the Parliament, they will seriously impair free flow of information and will have
chilling effect in online media and restrict the Albanian citizens’ right to access
information.
We also express our profound dismay that this legislation was drafted behind
closed doors, without involving journalists and civil society organizations
throughout the drafting process. As an EU candidate country, your government is
expected to be transparent and to involve all relevant stakeholders in initiatives
concerning them.
We ask you to immediately drop initiative to amend the two draft laws in question
and to involve journalists, civil society organisations, OSCE Representative on
Freedom of the Media, the European Union and Council of Europe in any
initiative concerning the right to freedom of expression of media and journalists.
We await a written commitment from your government that this initiative
will not go ahead.

Best regards,

  • ECPMF
  • EFJ
  • PEN International
  • RSF
  1. Draft law on changes and additions to law no. 97/2013 “on audiovisual media in the Republic of Albania” https://www.reporter.al/wp-content/uploads/20181211-Media-Law-Proposed-Amendments_English.docx
  2. Draft law on changes and additions to law nr. 9918, dated 19.5.2008 “on electronic communications in the Republic of Albania”
    https://www.reporter.al/wp-content/uploads/20181211-Electronic-Communications-Law-Proposed-Amendments-English.docx