The Venice Commission’s opinion on Albania’s controversial ‘anti-defamation’ law advises that the amendment not be adopted in its current state due to concerns over freedom of expression.
The Commission’s June 18 opinion warns that extending the authority of the Albanian Media Authority (AMA) to online media risks exposing individual users to undue restrictions on their freedom of speech. Additionally, before granting AMA such power its composition, as well as the composition of the Complaints Committee, must be reviewed in order to ensure their independence from the government and corporate control.
The Commission encouraged the creation of an independent self-regulatory body that can ensure media accountability.
It also stressed the need to ensure that existing legislation is effective in tackling defamation and hate speech. Additionally, online media must benefit from due process, and sanctions must be proportionate.