EC monitoring committee sends 'anti-libel' package for Venice Commission to review

Tirana Times
By Tirana Times January 23, 2020 10:58

EC monitoring committee sends 'anti-libel' package for Venice Commission to review

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  • Albania is among the member states still under surveillance and the last mission of two rapporteurs for Albania last October spoke of the necessity for amendments regarding the two laws "On audiovisual media" and "On electronic communications", one of the topics highlights of the meetings they had in Tirana.

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TIRANA, Jan. 22 - The Monitoring Committee of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe has approached the Venice Commission to seek an opinion on the so-called "anti-libel package" proposed by the Albanian government which has been widely criticized, not only by the community of Albanian journalists, but also by international journalist organizations as well as international institutions. 

Albania is among the member states still under surveillance and the last mission of two rapporteurs for Albania last October spoke of the necessity for amendments regarding the two laws "On audiovisual media" and "On electronic communications", one of the topics highlights of the meetings they had in Tirana.

The decision to seek the Venice Commission's opinion came at a time when  the parliament began reviewing the decrees of President Ilir Meta, who rejected the latest package adopted at the end of December as threatening media freedom, while the majority is insisting on passing the package as it is and amending it in the future. 

"The decrees of the President of the Republic protect a status quo, where defamation against the person has triumphed widely and where public disinformation has become a standard of living for many online actors, while our cooperation with the OSCE and the Council of Europe has aimed and will aim to protect the freedom of expression but also human integrity from defamation and the public itself from disinformation," the leader of the Socialist parliamentary group Taulant Balla wrote on Facebook on Wednesday, stating that "we will overthrow the President's decrees."

Balla further wrote that "we will continue to cooperate with any organization at home and abroad for any possible improvement of anti-defamation legislation in the future. We are in touch and thank the colleagues of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe for passing the text to the Venice Commission, as we look forward to further improving the law with the Venice Commission's valuable suggestions." 

The majority's rush to pass this package remains unclear, at a time when international institutions have been stressing that President Meta's return of legal changes should be used as an opportunity to make improvements.

Tirana Times
By Tirana Times January 23, 2020 10:58