PM Edi Rama’s TV Channel Unchecked by Audiovisual Media Authority

A document from the Audiovisual Media Authority (AMA) published through Publeaks confirms that the private TV channel that Prime Minister Edi Rama has established through his Facebook account does fall under the purview of its authority.

In the letter dated May 21, 2018, AMA Director Gentian Sala declared that communication channels through social networks do not fall under his competency. The task of the AMA is to guard the independence of the press and regulate advertisement, among others.

Since its establishment, ERTV, which is funded through public money managed by the Prime Ministry – even though no official numbers have been published – has been a dominating factor in the Albanian media landscape, often uninterruptedly transmitting a livestream of every move made by the Prime Minister. It has thus become a main point of reference for other news agencies, unable to commit the resources themselves.

Because ERTV is not regulated by the AMA, it has been able to openly promote private companies close to the government, for example when it transmitted more than 15 minutes of commercials for a new branch of Spitali Amerikan.

So even though paid by public funds, ERTV – which is a de facto public media outlet, even though it is hosted on Facebook – falls outside the control of the government agencies tasked with guaranteeing free and fair competition. In fact, during the past elections the Rama government used AMA to pay out €5 million to media owners so they could “properly” cover the elections.