The State Police have been accused of stopping journalists from filming the demolition of ‘illegal’ beachfront properties and businesses in Shengjin.
Police detained Report TV correspondent Elvis Hila and seized his mobile phone before deleting footage and images he had shot of the events. Video footage clearly shows him being escorted from the scene and being restricted from doing his job.
The journalist said that the Police Chief Agron Qullhaje took his phone and kept him in the police van for 10 minutes before releasing him. In a statement, Hila said:
“The incident happened around 17:00 today while I was following the action for the demolition of buildings in Shengjin. At the moment when the police and IKMT were in a dispute with the owner of a building and I was filming, the police chief approached me and took my phone. Two other officers then came and escorted me to the van. My colleagues filmed the whole scene and asked for justification of my removal but no explanation was given.
Hila said he will seek legal recourse regarding the event.
The Union of Albanian Journalists in Shkodra has reacted to the event stating that there needs to be measures in place so that such incidents do not happen again. They said the police’s behavior was indicative of blocking the reflection of the truth and that the police should perform their duty, not commit offences.
Former Democratic Party MP Albana Vokshi condemned the violence and accused the police of acting like a regime and failing to follow the rule of law.