On World Press Freedom Day, the US Embassy released a statement calling upon Albanian politicians to “strengthen freedom of speech”:
#WorldPressFreedomDay serves as a reminder to governments and politicians to do their job to strengthen freedom of speech. It is also a day of reflection among media professionals about issues of press freedom, professional ethics, and integrity. At the same time, World Press Freedom Day is a day of support for media and journalists who are targets of censorship, intimidation and violence.
Nevertheless, Prime Minister Edi Rama took the time to mock the Albanian press through a post on Twitter.
What a bleak comedy with the yesterday’s burners, beaters, and blackmailers of the journalists, newspapers, and media that today speak in the name of their freedom! Fortunately there are judges for everyone and for everyone no matter what they do and say, there will be the day or reckoning WITH VOTES […]
The Council of Europe has recently warned that the Western Balkans are backsliding press freedom, and Albania is consistently ranked among the countries with the lowest press freedom in Europe. According to a recent study by a US-supported study, “1 in 3 respondents declares that he/she himself/herself has been subject to verbal and physical threats during their job.”
Prime Minister Rama frequently attacks the press, especially during electoral campaigns. In the 2017 electoral campaign, Rama consistently used the term “trash media.” More recently, government-allied media launched a concerted smear campaign on Alice Elizabeth Taylor, a British journalist contributing to Exit, an attack condemned by the Council of Europe, the International Press Institute, and the European Federation of Journalists.