Mayor of Tirana Erion Veliaj has lashed out at two Albanian television stations who have criticized him and not published any of the material that his office has sent them.
Both Ora News and News24 have published stories regarding the quality of roads constructed by the Municipality, and the high number of international flights Veliaj took during 2019. The latter story, published on News4 revealed that Veliaj spent at least 40 days out of Tirana but that he concealed it by publishing pre-recorded videos that would be transmitted during his absence.
Veliaj has also been widely criticized for not holding press conferences or granting access to the media at events, instead sending pre-prepared material to TV stations. It has been reported that both News24 and Ora News are no longer publishing these reels as they are sent by Veliaj’s team.
The Mayor responded by attacking the media stations saying that the reason they are criticizing him is because the Municipality will not grant their owners construction permits. Accusing the stations of blackmailing him, Veliaj said:
“Of course, Albania and Tirana are places of big blackmail, here everyone wants [permits for] 30 floors, but they will get [permits] according to the [master]plan. So, they can do whatever they want [against me] in their TVs, but as long as I am here, they cannot blackmail me and the Municipality of Tirana.”