From: Alice Taylor.
Albanian Government Failing its Freedom of Information Obligations

The Albanian government has been failing in its obligations to freedom of information and transparency, according to data from local media portals.

28 September marked the International Day for Universal Access to Informaion, organised by UNESCO. 

The Albanian Constitution and the law both provide the right to information. In the Constitution, Artice 23 states that citizens have the right to access information held by state bodies and to attend public meetings. Then in 2004, law 8503, the Right to Information about Official Documents law made the right to freedom of information legally enforceable. Furthermore, Albania has committed itself to several international agreements including the 2002 Aarhus Convention and a Council  of Europe recommendation on access to official documents.

Public bodies are obliged to give an answer within 10 days from submission. If a request is refused it can only be under provisions such as national security and international and intergovernmental relations.

A 2016 report by the Mjaft Movement found that Albanian public institutions comply with FOI requests 42% of the time. Out of 230 requests, only 98 replies were given and only 80 of those disclosed the requested information. 

Faktoje, a local media platform that deals with the verification of promises and public statements by government officials reported that generally, the law is not respected. 

Between January 2020 and September 2020, they sent some 510 request to various institutions but received onl 218 responses.

BIRN also reported that the Albanian government was failing in its obligations. Between January 2017 and 2019, a total of 854 requests were filed. Only 408, less than half were approved and answered in full.

At Exit, there has been a difference between the English and Albanian editions. Generally, requests from the Albanian site are answered whereas the English site does not usually get a response.