The Albanian Audiovisual Media Authority (AMA) and the Electronic Communications Authority (AKEP) has allegedly asked internet service providers to block a number of sites including global blogging site Medium.
IMAlbania published an AMA request to AKEP to block access fro Albania to 25 websites, including Medium.
Apparently the blocks are being undertaken after a complaint by Albanian actor Ermal Mamaqi. According to the above request, AMA has identified the the websites that illegally broadcast Mamaqi’s films, and asked AKEP to block them.
It is not clear why the whole Medium site was banned, rather than just offending links.
While Medium contains user-generated blog posts, it also contains articles from professional journalists, writers, and authors on a wide range of topics.
AMA and AKEP are state bodies that will be involved in overseeing the provisions of the controversial “anti-defamation” package. This set of laws will de fact give the government the power to block, fine, and restrict access to websites that it deems publish “fake news” or breach certain requirements.
Exit recently reported on how none of the candidates for the head of AMA meets the legally mandated requirements of having 10 years experience in the media. Furthermore, they are all linked to the ruling party has worked directly for Prime Minister Edi Rama, Mayor of Tirana Erion Veliaj, Ministry of Defense Olta Xhacka, or created propaganda for the Socialist Party in an official capacity.
This calls the required independence of the AMA into question.
Medium is also blocked in China, Egypt and was at one time, blocked in Malaysia.