The Albanian Media Council has reacted with concern to the climate of attacks on journalists from other journalists.
Their statement is in reference to an article written by Frrok Cupi which they said was an “ad hominem attack” on Ora News journalist Sonila Meco. They called it a “flagrant violation of the Code of Ethics of Albanian Journalists” which requires that relations between journalists be fair and that the media not be used for professional or personal rivalries.
The article, published in Gazeta Tema, called Meco an “actress”, said she had nothing left in her life, and said she was “tearfully naive”. He also said she is not a journalist, and implied she is not open-minded or knowledgable. Other parts of the article made offensive comments about her appearance.
Meco is a journalist with Ora News which was this week seized by police due to an investigation into its owner Ylli Ndroqi on suspicion of involvement in drug trafficking. The AMC, local journalism associations and international media freedom organisation Reporters Without Borders have condemned the move. While respecting the rule of law, they said that sending armed police to the station had a chilling effect on media freedom and journalists critical of the government.
The AMC called on editors not to publish such articles as they damage the credibility of the media but also damage the profession of the journalist.
“This article is unacceptable for the ethical standards of national and international journalism. Apart from a personal attack, the writing becomes even more serious in the conditions when the journalists of Ora News and TV Ora, 2 critical televisions with the Albanian Government are surrounded by police, under the pressure of a violent exhibition by the Albanian Government,” they added.
They expressed their solidarity with Meco and all other journalists that have been attacked recently because of critical attitudes.
Gazeta Tema was criticised last year for publishing articles that smeared Exit article Alice Taylor and her partner. After Taylor wrote articles critical of the government and gave comments on anti-government protests to international media, Gazeta Tema’s editor-in-chief, Mero Baze wrote articles calling her a Russian spy. Taylor, who was six months pregnant at the time, has filed a defamation suit against Baze, and Tema.