Acromax has threatened to sue Exit journalist Alice Taylor following an article she published noting that the company had admitted the Socialist Party were clients in August and denying that they were five months later.
Owner Aldor Nini contacted Taylor via Facebook Messenger:
“You are saying in your most recent article that we have said that we have NEVER had the socialist party as a client. Can you please provide evidence where we have said that, so I can understand why you wrote this article.”
Nini then added; “please keep in mind that we are already preparing a lawsuit against you and 20 other entities in Germany and Albania in the meantime and I would not want to add this one also to the lawsuit, because as for now I do not see that you got your facts and evidence straight.”
Exit did not claim that Acromax said they “NEVER” had the PS as clients, rather we published Nini’s own words from August and January.
In August 2019, owner of Acromax Aldo Nini said, when asked if Erion Veliaj or Edi Rama were clients (key parts of correspondence highlighted by Exit):
“As we work for thousands of content owners or brands, the only business relation we have is with the political party PS, which is to:
– block unauthorized usage of their copyrighted material such as pictures, videos, etc.
– work with the social media platforms such as Facebook, in order to report fake news about members of the respective political party”
Probably it would be better to send you a list of all articles we have taken measures against on behalf of PS, because the list is pretty small.”
“So they instruct you to take action on certain articles”
Nini said: “Correct. My team is compiling the list for you at this moment.”
He then added: “This is the full list of links reported on behalf of PS by our company due to copyright infringements or clearly fake news,” and sent a list of four articles he claims were removed on behalf of the SP.
Following articles published by Exit in August, Nini stated he would send a response. This response came only last week and reads in part, as follows:
“Acromax Media has no politicization towards any party. Acromax Media confirms that it does not provide services for political parties, is neither funded nor established by any political party, neither today nor when the opposition was in power. Moreover, during the electoral periods Acromax Media has banned all advertisements displayed in the Albanian territory, precisely to avoid misunderstandings in this area.”
If in fact the PS is no longer a client of Acromax and the situation has changed between August 2019 and January 2020, Nini did not clarify this in his key bit of information in the updated statement sent last week. In subsequent correspondence between Nini and Taylor where the former repeatedly threatened her, he did not offer any clarification on whether anything had changed during that time.
Strategic Lawsuits Against Public Participation (SLAPP) are lawsuits that are intended to censor, intimidate, and silence critics by burdening them with a lengthy and costly legal proceeding until they abandon their criticism. In a typical SLAPP, the plaintiff does not expect to win the case, but rather to make the defendant succumb to fear, intimidation and mounting legal costs. Often filed in foreign jurisdictions, such lawsuits have been made illegal in a number of jurisdictions on the grounds they impede freedom of speech.