A smear campaign against Exit News journalist Alice Taylor, and the platform has been highlighted by Council of Europe in their Annual Report on press freedom and the media throughout its Member States.
Entitled “Hands Off Press Freedom: Attacks on Media in Europe Must Not Become a New Normal”, the report details a number of attacks on journalists and violations of media freedom in Albania, during 2019.
The smear campaign against Taylor and Exit was mentioned as a form of online harassment. This along with seven other alerts in the country, “signals a deterioration of journalists’ working conditions’ in the country.
According to the CoE, Taylor “was the target of a smear campaign following a statement she gave to Russia Today.” It goes on to detail how photographs of her were published along with allegations that she was tied to and paid by the Russian Federation.
The portals also claimed that Exit.al was linked to the Democratic Party and that Taylor was both linked to and paid by them.
The Albanian Media Council described the articles as “misleading”, “not based on fact”, “filled with suppositions”, “a breach of privacy”, and made her a “target of violence”.
Taylor has launched a number of defamation cases against the portals that published such allegations and then refused to remove them. She was six months pregnant at the time the smear campaign was started against her.
Less than a week after the smear campaign started, Taylor had her residence permit approval withdrawn. She took the case to the administrative court and won with the judge ruling that the Ministry of the Interior and the Immigration Police had acted without any basis in law.