13 July 2021
13 July 2021
The Media Freedom Rapid Response (MFRR) today expresses deep concern about the future impartiality and independence of Albania’s Audiovisual Media Authority (AMA) following the election of a close associate of the ruling Socialist Party to head the media regulator.
On 7 July, the government and its allies voted without the presence of opposition lawmakers in parliament to appoint Armela Krasniqi as the chairwoman of the AMA, the country’s influential TV and radio regulator.
Our organisations have serious concerns over the impartiality of the new chairwoman, who is a close associate of Prime Minister Edi Rama and previously worked as his director of communications between 2013 and 2017. Krasniqi has worked for the Socialist Party most of her life and currently heads the state news agency, which has faced accusations of political bias.
Under Albanian media law, the AMA is required to be a politically independent authority. Impartial leadership of such regulatory bodies is vital for upholding public trust in a country’s media landscape and strengthening professional standards. Media freedom is deeply connected to regulatory responsibility, as powers to sanction alleged breaches of media law and decide on the allocation of broadcast licenses must be applied fairly.
The appointment of a partisan figure with long-standing links to the ruling party, in the absence of opposition votes in parliament, therefore risks seriously undermining the credibility and legitimacy of the AMA, as well as wider trust in the Albanian media ecosystem.
Confidence in the regulator’s political independence is even more important given the government’s controversial “anti-defamation package” of amendments, which if passed, would hand the AMA greater powers to impose disproportionate sanctions and fines on media outlets. Our organisations remain strongly opposed to these plans.
Rather than seek consensus over the leadership of the AMA, however, the Socialist Party has rushed ahead with the vote despite urgent calls from both the European Union and the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) to postpone the selection until the new parliament is convened in September.
The decision to appoint a politically-connected figure contradicts the recommendations set out by the Venice Commission for strengthening the AMA’s independence. Instead of adopting these recommendations and creating greater safeguards, the government has taken a step backwards and exacerbated the issue further. This should be of concern to the EU as it assesses Albania’s accession to the bloc.
Going forward, we urge the government to move ahead with implementation of the recommendations set out by the Venice Commission regarding the AMA and the so-called “anti-defamation package”, which remains on the parliamentary agenda. Our organisations retain serious concerns about the effect this will have on media freedom in Albania if passed in its current form. Greater communication is required from the government about the status of the proposed amendments. Until such clarity is provided, the package will continue to have a chilling effect on the media.
It is also vital that when the second stage of the appointment process for the AMA’s board members recommences in September, all political parties act in the public interest by prioritising professional expertise and independence over partisan loyalty when electing candidates. Our organisations will continue to monitor the situation closely.
European Centre for Press and Media Freedom (ECPMF)
European Federation of Journalists (EFJ)
Free Press Unlimited (FPU)
International Press Institute (IPI)
Osservatorio Balcani e Caucaso Transeuropa (OBCT)
This statement is part of the Media Freedom Rapid Response (MFRR), an Europe-wide mechanism, which tracks, monitors and responds to violations of press and media freedom in EU Member States and Candidate Countries. This project provides legal and practical support, public advocacy and information to protect journalists and media workers. The MFRR is organised by an consortium led by the European Centre for Press and Media Freedom (ECPMF) with ARTICLE 19, the European Federation of Journalists (EFJ), Free Press Unlimited (FPU), the Institute for Applied Informatics at the University of Leipzig (InfAI), International Press Institute (IPI) and CCI/Osservatorio Balcani e Caucaso Transeuropa (OBCT). The project is co-funded by the European Commission. www.mfrr.eu
The partners in the Media Freedom Rapid Response and the Safe Journalists Network are deeply saddened to learn about the shocking attack on Top Channel Albania, in which a security guard was killed.READ MORE
The MFRR is concerned by recent developments in Republika Srpska, Bosnia and Herzegovina, where the government has introduced amendments to the Criminal Code that would re-criminalise defamation.READ MORE
The undersigned international press freedom and journalists organisations urge the government of Malta to follow up on the recent public consultation into media law reforms by implementing changes which will significantly strengthen the draft legislation.READ MORE
The MFRR partners urge the EC Member States to take action for the safety of journalists without further delay and implement the provisions of the Recommendation on ensuring the protection, safety and empowerment of journalists and other media professionals.READ MORE
Following the start of the retrial last week at the Court of Appeal for the 1999 murder of Slavko Ćuruvija, the partners of the MFRR and the SafeJournalists Network today renew our call for justice for his killing to finally be secured.READ MORE
MFRR partners condemn the decision of the Italian prosecutor to issue a seizure order for Domani’s investigative article, following a criminal complaint by the governmental representative.READ MORE
All content available on the ECPMF website is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.
04155 Leipzig / Germany
Tel: +49 (0) 172 367 499 0
Fax: +49 (0) 341 562 96 63
© Copyright 2022 – ECPMF
European Centre for Press and Media Freedom
|_mcid||1 year||This is a Mailchimp functionality cookie used to evaluate the UI/UX interaction with its platform|
|_ga||2 years||The _ga cookie, installed by Google Analytics, calculates visitor, session and campaign data and also keeps track of site usage for the site's analytics report. The cookie stores information anonymously and assigns a randomly generated number to recognize unique visitors.|
|_gat_gtag_UA_84831681_1||1 minute||Set by Google to distinguish users.|
|_gid||1 day||Installed by Google Analytics, _gid cookie stores information on how visitors use a website, while also creating an analytics report of the website's performance. Some of the data that are collected include the number of visitors, their source, and the pages they visit anonymously.|
|ahoy_visit||4 hours||This cookie is set by Powr for analytics measurement.|
|ahoy_visitor||2 years||This cookie is set by Powr for analytics measurement.|
|CONSENT||2 years||YouTube sets this cookie via embedded youtube-videos and registers anonymous statistical data.|
|s_vi||2 years||An Adobe Analytics cookie that uses a unique visitor ID time/date stamp to identify a unique vistor to the website.|
|VISITOR_INFO1_LIVE||5 months 27 days||A cookie set by YouTube to measure bandwidth that determines whether the user gets the new or old player interface.|
|YSC||session||YSC cookie is set by Youtube and is used to track the views of embedded videos on Youtube pages.|
|yt-remote-connected-devices||never||YouTube sets this cookie to store the video preferences of the user using embedded YouTube video.|
|yt-remote-device-id||never||YouTube sets this cookie to store the video preferences of the user using embedded YouTube video.|