Today, experts from the Venice Commission met with President Ilir Meta to hear his legal and constitutional arguments against the controversial “anti-defamation” package, passed by the Socialist Party majority in December.
Meta returned the law to Parliament where the government decided to postpone voting on it again, pending the decision of the Commission, the Council of Europe’s constitutional law specialists.
In a statement from his office, Meta said that media freedom, freedom of expression, and the right to information are fundamental constitutional rights and are intrinsically linked to building a functioning democratic state.
“The independence of media power is at the core of the functioning and well-being of the rule of law. If the freedom of expression and of the press is violated, and the media is placed under political control, then the free and constitutional order is violated, with direct and very serious consequences for the European future of Albania,” Meta said.
The Commission also met with Koloreto Cukali from the Albanian Media Council, one of the leading voices against the introduction of the law. Cukali said that:
“For the first time in over a year, we finally felt like somebody heard us. The government has so far not listened to our complaints or thoughts about the law and it was positive to find someone who was interested in what we had to say. Secondly, I have the feeling that the law concerns them as they took note of all our concerns and the major issues. I also believe they felt positive about the concept of self-regulation, an initiative that we will launch tomorrow.”