From: Exit Staff
Online Harassment and Abuse of Albanian Journalist Reported by Mapping Media Freedom

Albanian journalist Sonila Meco has been subjected to a torrent of online abuse and harassment after certain media portals accused her of disrespecting the country’s doctors in a social media post.

The attack has been reported as a violation of media freedom by the Mapping Media Freedom platform.

Meco is a well-known journalist and presents current affairs programme ‘Tempora’ on RTV Ora. She made a comment on Facebook, criticising comments made by a single doctor regarding Albanian nationals stuck at the border with Greece and not being able to return.

The doctor had stated that people would be “better off lying on the ground over there, than lying dead in a hospital”.

Meco then poted her. comment criticising the doctor for suggesting that Albanian citizens were better off being left at the border.

Gazeta Tema then published an article picturing Meco with the headline “Sonila Meco has attacked medics for not speaking up and demanding that the Albanians stuck at thee border be admitted inside the country even though they might be carriers of the coronavirus.”

As a result of the article, she received a flood of insults and harassment online. Comments included threats of sexual violence against her.

Deputy Prime Minister of Albania, Erion Brace then made the situation worse by posting on social media and criticising Meco for her post resulting in further attacks against her.

Flutra Kusari from the European Centre for Press and Media Freedom highlighted the incident in a Tweet.

Gazeta Tema was also responsible for attacking Exit journalist Alice Taylor when she was six months pregnant. The articles provoked severe lash back including online threats and harassment and being shouted at in the street.

It wrote defamatory articles accusing her of being a Russian spy and her partner of being a violence militant. It also accused her, and Exit of being paid by the Opposition. The case is now in the courts after Taylor filed several cases of defamation against the portal and its owner Mero Baze.