Albania Media Council (AMC) has slammed the government decision to send special police units to seize TV ORA and Ora News after a court order as “a de facto attack on free speech”.
“The attack by FNSH and RENEA on the premises of these two television stations critical of the government is a de facto attack on free speech,” AMC stated on Tuesday.
On Monday, at the behest of the Special Anti-Corruption Prosecution Office (SPAK), the Albanian government seized the assets of Ylli Ndroqi, president of the two television channels.
According to SPAK, there is reasonable suspicion that Ndroqi has been involved in criminal activity in Turkey, Italy, and Albania, and that his wealth has been accrued via this criminal activity.
The AMC noted that the decision to seize the two TV channels has enabled the government to appoint its own administrators, thus de facto bringing their editorial line, too, “under seizure”.
The government decision to send armed special police units to premises of TV ORA and Ora News was called out as intimidation of journalists working there, but also for “creating a chilling effect on other media and journalists critical of the government.”
The AMC demanded the Albanian Government to order the special police units to leave the premises. They called on judicial bodies to re-evaluate the seizure order for the two television channels in favor of freedom of information.