Peter Tiede, author of the recent article in Bild that accused Prime Minister Edi Rama and his government of vote buying and criminal links, has given a statement in response to their allegations he was paid by the opposition.
Speaking to Exit today, Tiede stated that “apparently the MP (Blerina Gjylameti) lacks the imagination to comprehend a free press. To accuse a journalist from another country, with a real freedom of the press, of having taken money, is a matter for her to deal with herself.”
“Journalists portray reality, show what is- they research and document. Very often this is not possible for Albanian journalists,” he said, commenting on the country’s poor state of media freedom.
He went on to explain how Albanian whistleblowers and investigators have been put under house arrest without charge or forced to seek political asylum in Switzerland, Finland and the Netherlands, just for doing their job
“How stupid does the lady think her people and me are? Why does the Socialist Party politician want to drag her own people through the mud?” said Tiede.
“If she can think of nothing better to suggest that my aim would be to depict this beautiful country, which, unfortunately become the “Columbia of Europe”, in a bad light, then she is very much mistaken,” he said in the statement.
The German journalist then went on to question whether Gjylameti can explain the boom in building in places like Vlore, why so little tax is collected, and where do members of her own party “get so much money from”?
He also questioned the prevalence of marijuana growing throughout the country and the fact that there are multiple prosecutions against Albanian drug traffickers in Germany, Switzerland, Spain, the Netherlands and the UK, yet none in Albania itself.
“Perhaps the lady can take care of this instead, as that is what Albanian citizens are paying her for”, he said.
“Oh and if she has time she can deal with the Tahiri case – and make sure that the court can decide freely – the Constitutional Court, the Supreme court, the establishment of a constitutional state, and the guarantee of the freedom of the press”, he added.
Tiede concluded that if she did all of those things, then perhaps she might have a right to throw dirt at him, rather than the fact that these problems are very real and that all he has done is write the truth.
He denies meeting any opposition MP with the exception of Rama’s own ex-Minister on the last night of his visit to Albania.
The article which appeared in Europe’s most widely read news portal described the country as “a prime example of a chaotic country in the hands of a gangster”. Adding that something was “seriously wrong in the land” he referenced wiretaps that showed evidence of MPs, including Rama colluding to buy votes prior to the 2017 general election.
The article also detailed the war against drugs, stating that it was being hampered by corruption within the police and politics.
Socialist Party MP Blerina Gjylameti then gave a statement implying that the article was paid for by the opposition as well as “dirty money coming from foreign countries”.
She said that the “mud and defamation” published in the international media was a part of the opposition strategy.
The de facto response of the Albanian government to the criticism of foreign journalists seems to be to accuse them of being paid by the opposition or money coming from a third party country such as Russia. Exit.al has also learned that, at least in two cases, Albanian ambassadors in western countries have met with editors of media outlets that have published critical reports to try and persuade them to backtrack or censor their journalists.