Albania drops seven places in Media Freedom Index

Tirana Times
By Tirana Times April 19, 2019 10:17

Albania drops seven places in Media Freedom Index

Story Highlights

  • Concerning Albania, the report says that “media attacks, either by the government or organized crime, reached unprecedented levels in 2018. Journalists were target of insults, death threats and legal persecution, with the intent to intimidate and prevent the investigation of corruption. Politicians led by Prime Minister Edi Rama called them “trash” and “fake news producer.” The PM proposed a bill designed to strengthen state control over electronic media and, according to critics, restrict access to news and information.”

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TIRANA, April 18 – Albania dropped seven places in the 2019 ranking of “Reporters Without Borders” Media Freedom Index, going from 75th in 2018 to 82nd this year.

The “Reporters Without Borders” organization, based in Paris, assessed in its 2019 Media Freedom Index that hate towards journalists worldwide has turned into violence by inciting fears.

According to Thursday’s report, the number of sites considered safe, where journalists can work in full security, continues to fall, while authoritarian regimes continue to tighten their control around the media.

Concerning Albania, the report says that “media attacks, either by the government or organized crime, reached unprecedented levels in 2018. Journalists were target of insults, death threats and legal persecution, with the intent to intimidate and prevent the investigation of corruption. Politicians led by Prime Minister Edi Rama called them “trash” and “fake news producer.” The PM proposed a bill designed to strengthen state control over electronic media and, according to critics, restrict access to news and information.”

The report also mentions a joint study of “Journalists Without Borders” and BIRN published in March last year, which found  many problems with the Albanian media.

“Regulatory standards have been manipulated in the interest of the government, and ownership over the broadcast media has concentrated in the hands of a few big businessmen. This has created a situation in which auto censorship is widespread and 80 percent of journalists have no confidence in their professional future,” the report said.

Kosovo ranked 75th place, three places higher than last year.

The report states that “the political situation in Kosovo became more tense and unstable in 2018 as a result of neighboring Serbia’s approach to the European Union, which left the Kosovo government in diplomatic isolation. The lack of government transparency on relations with Europe prompted strong public and journalistic feedback.”

The report states that certain media have criticized the nationalist policies of President Hashim Thaci and the Democratic Party of Kosovo, while the government has accused journalists of being “traitors” or “Serbs sympathizers.”

Serbia, ranking 90th, marked a drop of 14 seats, with the report stating that “within five years of government by President Alexander Vucic, Serbia has become a place where becoming a journalist is neither safe nor supported by the state.”

North Macedonia is in the 95th place, marking a rise from a year ago when it came 109th, while Montenegro has the worst ranking in the region, coming 104th.

Assessing the degree of freedom of the media among 180 countries, Norway is the first, while Turkmenistan ranked last, scoring worse even than North Korea.

 

Tirana Times
By Tirana Times April 19, 2019 10:17