From: Exit News
OSCE Office in Albania Calls for Decriminalization of Defamation

The OSCE Presence in Albania has called on the ruling majority to decriminalize defamation, and has encouraged media self-regulation.

In a statement on the World Press Freedom Day, the OSCE has drawn attention to some of the most concerning issues the Albanian media faces, including ownership by a few people and limited access of journalists to public event. Ironically, Albania has the annual OSCE Chairmanship for 2020.

Në Ditën Botërore të Lirisë së Shtypit, Prezenca e OSBE-së në Shqipëri qëndron përkrah gazetarëve shqiptarë në…

Gepostet von OSCE Presence in Albania am Samstag, 2. Mai 2020

“On the #WorldPressFreedomDay#WPFD2020, the #OSCE Presence in #Albania stands by the Albanian journalists in fulfilling media’s crucial mission in democratic countries at any times, and especially in times of crisis like the current COVID-19 pandemic. We support them in their efforts for proper working contracts, better access to information, freedom of expression, and increased professionalism. On this occasion, we also reiterate the OSCE’s recommendations for access for journalists to public events in particular during election campaigns, deconcentration of media ownership, and full decriminalization of defamation, and encourage media self-regulation as a superior alternative to government regulation,” the OSCE stated.

The Albanian Criminal Code includes defamation as criminal offence.

Moreover, the Socialist majority approved legal changes to regulate the online media, despite domestic and international calls against them. After the President vetoed the changes and under increasing international pressure, the Socialists suspended a second final vote until an opinion by the Venice Commission.

Journalists in Albania took the first steps to create a self-regulation platform for ethical media in February with the support of the EU, Council of Europe, UNESCO and the Embassy of the Netherlands.

Two reports in the last two weeks have highlighted the deterioration of media freedom in Albania.

The Council of Europe’s Annual Report on press freedom and the media noted the worsening of journalists’ working conditions in Albania.

Additionally, Albania fell another two places in Reporters Without Borders World Press Index 2020, ranking at number 84 and beaten by countries like Haiti, Kyrgyzstan, Maldives, Northern Cyprus Timor-Leste.