Ora News has published messages that it claims are between the mayor of Tirana Erion Veliaj and the owner of Ora News Ylli Ndroqi.
In the published messages, Veliaj insulted the journalist Beti Numa and tried to change the content of the news.
Speaking about Numa, Veliaj allegedly wrote: “I never expected even on the worst day that would allow a beast to enter between us.” He also referred to journalists as “idiots” and accused them of copying news from the Democratic Party in an attempt to discredit him.
Screenshots also showed the Mayor forwarding articles from Ora that were critical of the Municipality and him, questioning their publication. These included content relating to the demolition of the National Theatre.
A criminal case has been launched between the mayor Veliaj and the owner of Ora News. Ndroqi sued the in SPAK for not reporting, slander and defamation.
Two weeks ago, Ndroqi’s assets were seized on the order of SPAK due to allegations of drug trafficking under an alias in Italy, Albania, and Turkey. Ndroqi denies the claims yet Interpol has confirmed that the alias who was convicted abroad, and Ndroqi are the same.
Armed police then descended upon Ora News in a move that has been criticised by Albanian journalist organisations, the Albanian Media Council, and Reporters Without Borders for sending a chilling message to media freedom. They said that while the rule of law should be respected, the nature of these actions sends a message to other media that is critical of the government and Veliaj.