OSCE: Media Law Amendments Raise Concerns

The OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media Harlem Désir today said he was concerned about recent proposals to amend the Law on Audio-Visual Media in Albania.

The country’s Audio-Visual Media Authority transmitted several amendments to the Law on Audio-Visual Media to the Ministry of Finance and Economy on 8 June. The amendments were drafted by the owners and directors of four local and two national television stations in Albania. One of their key demands is that the private broadcasters should be allocated part of the TV licence fee that is currently funding the public service broadcaster, RTSH.

“I am concerned that this proposal could affect the financial sustainability of the RTSH,” said Désir. “Public service broadcasters have an important role in providing quality information and nationwide coverage and must have the adequate resources to perform their duties.”

“Any system of state subsidies to media needs to be subject to a public consultation including all the media stakeholders. It should also have a clear and broad objective of support to all media sectors, including online, print and local press, with transparent criteria and procedure, no political interference and with the aim to strengthen media plurality,” he added.

The Representative offered the support of his Office in providing a legal analysis of any media-related draft legislation once it is officially proposed by the government.