Albania: SPAK must respect source protection in case of journalist Elton Qyno

ECPMF

10 January 2024

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Today, ECPMF joined our partners in the Media Freedom Rapid Response (MFRR), the Safe Journalists Network, and Reporters Without Borders, to express our concerns over the recent actions taken by Albania’s Special Prosecution against Corruption and Organized Crime (SPAK) and their decision to seize journalist Elton Qyno’s equipment and to pressure him to reveal his sources.

Mr. Altin Dumani

Head of the Special Prosecution against Corruption and Organized Crime (SPAK)

Re: The case of journalist Elton Qyno

 

Dear Mr. Dumani,

 

We at SafeJournalists Network, the partner organizations of the Media Freedom Rapid Response and Reporters Without Borders, are writing to express our concerns over the recent actions taken by SPAK against journalist Elton Qyno. The decision to seize Mr. Qyno’s equipment and pressure him to reveal his sources is a matter of significant alarm for us as organizations dedicated to the protection of the rights of journalists, media freedom, and journalistic integrity. The actions taken against Mr. Qyno, including the inspection of his residence and office and the seizure of his personal and professional equipment, set a worrying precedent. Such measures will impact journalist’s rights and media freedom in Albania and beyond.

 

We recognize the necessity of legal compliance in judicial processes. However, balancing this with the internationally recognized principle of the protection of journalistic sources is imperative. This principle is not only critical to the rights of journalists but is also essential to the public’s right to information and the overall health of a democratic society.

 

Given these considerations, we urge SPAK to reassess its approach in this case. Returning the seized equipment to Mr. Qyno and ceasing all efforts to uncover his sources would demonstrate understanding, respecting, and upholding media freedom and the protection of journalistic sources in Albania. This approach would align with the standards established by the European Court of Human Rights and other international entities dedicated to media freedom.

 

We appeal to your office to prioritize the protection of journalistic sources, which is crucial for maintaining press freedom and democratic principles. The relationship of trust between journalists, their sources, the public, and law enforcement depends heavily on the respect and upholding of these values.

 

We thank you for your attention to this matter and look forward to a resolution that upholds media freedom and protects journalistic sources in Albania. Our organizations will continue to monitor the situation closely and report any further developments.

Signed:

SafeJournalists Network

Association of Journalists of Kosovo

Association of Journalists of Macedonia

BH Journalists Association

Croatian Journalists’ Association

Independent Journalists Association of Serbia

Trade Union of Media of Montenegro

European Center for Press and Media Freedom

European Federation of Journalists

Free Press Unlimited

International Press Institute

OBC Transeuropa

Reporters Without Borders

This statement was signed by ECPMF as part of the Media Freedom Rapid Response (MFRR), 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 a consortium led by the European Centre for Press and Media Freedom (ECPMF) including ARTICLE 19 Europe, the European Federation of Journalists (EFJ), Free Press Unlimited (FPU), International Press Institute (IPI) and CCI/Osservatorio Balcani e Caucaso Transeuropa (OBCT). The project is co-funded by the European Commission.

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