Yesterday, closing the EU–Western Balkans Media Days, EU Commissioner Johannes Hahn once again expressed the “non-negotiable” conditions of the European Union regarding press freedom:
We want to see sustainable accomplishments in the judicial reform and freedom of media. I believe these to be non-negotiable for the member states of the European Union.
Commissioner Hahn, however, failed to actually support press freedom in the Western Balkans when asked about Prime Minister Edi Rama’s opening speech, which according to several of the attending journalists in fact attacked the media.
According to Hahn, “everyone has the right to express their viewpoints,” conveniently leaving out that the opinion of Prime Minister has a very different weight than that of a reporter or ordinary citizen:
I know that there has been criticism in his direction, but I don’t want to make more comments in relation to this. It was his speech and you have the right to react to it. I think that also politicians have the right to express their opinions. It is always a discussion about the usage of the right words, but this is part of our daily life. Everyone has the right to express their opinions, but there is also the right to react.
Commissioner Hahn didn’t clarify whether similar relativist attitudes will be part of the evaluation process in the judicial reform or the drafting process of the Progress Report.