Last update: Sunday, March 29, 2020

Albanian Civic Society against the government’s proposed changes to the medial law

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The Assembly of Albania is expected to vote on two laws known as the Anti-Defamation Law, a legal initiative of Rama’s Government, at its plenary session on Wednesday. The Civil Society and Representatives of the Albanian Media have called for a protest in front of the Assembly on December 18th, at 09:30. #MOSnaPREKfjalėn is the slogan of this protest (banner attached).

We, a group of 15 journalists’ organizations and civil society organisations, have repeatedly asked the Government, since December 2018, through our public statements, to abandon its two draft laws presented as the Anti-Defamation package, listing all of our arguments.
Also, following the submission of these two bills to the Albanian Assembly, we call on the Assembly ti immediately reject these two draft laws, if the government does not withdraw them. These two draft laws threaten freedom of expression and freedom of the media in the country, and fall contrary to the international principles set out in article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, article 19 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, Article 19 of the US Convention on Human Rights, Article 10 of the European Convention on Human Rights, etc.
The organisations find that the two draft laws, part of the Anti-Defamation package, award almost judicial powers of a sanction nature to AMA and the Authority for Electronic and Postal Communication against media operators,while these bodies, although independent by law, do not provide functional guarantees to be effectively independent, as are bodies of judicial power.
Albania has enough laws to regulate issues arising from media violating the rights of others and any other interference, and there have already been several precedents adjudicated in our judicial system in this regard.
The need for media self-regulation and no legal regulation takes particular importance in those countries of democracy in transition, such as our country, where media is often linked to business and political interests. Self-regulation is a combination of standards stipulating the relevant code of conduct for the media, which are needed to support freedom of expression and enable this conduct to be monitored and held accountable. Self-regulation preserves media independence and protects it from partisan government interventions.
The organizations calls on the Government of Albania and the Albanian Parliament to take into account all of the repeated objections of the international institutions (such as OSCE, EU, Council of Europe and the United Nations), the presence of which contributes to our country and to the rule of law, human rights, and to express themselves clearly and publicly on the draft laws in question, as efforts to violate freedom of expression.
Also, this call of the local organizations has also been supported in the last couple of days, by different international organizations, the most important ones in addressing the issues related to freedom of media and expression, as well as by the International Federation of Journalists, IFJ (with over 600 thousand members from 140 countries of the world), and the Federation of European Journalists EFJ (with about 320 thousand members from 45 countries)
joint statement attached.
List of signatory organizations:
· BIRN Albania
· Civil Rights Defenders
· Citizens Channel
· Faktoje
· Albanian Media Institute
· Albanian Institute of Science promotor of Data Albania
· Albanian Media Council
· Albanian Helsinki Committee
· Union of Albanian Journalists
· New Media Network
· Res Publica Centre
· Albanian MediaLook Centre
· Albanian Centre for Quality Journalism
· Association of Professional Journalists of Albania
· Union of Albanian Journalists

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Published article description: Ne, njė grupim prej 15 organizatash tė gazetarėve dhe shoqėrisė civile, nė mėnyrė tė pėrsėritur, duke filluar nga Dhjetori i vitit 2018, pėrmes deklaratave tona publike i kemi kėrkuar qeverisė tė tėrheqė dy projektligjet e prezantuara publikisht si Paketa Antishpifje, duke renditur tė gjitha kundėrtitė tona.
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