The Global Expression report for 2019/2020 found that Albania’s ranking has decreased by 15% over a five year period.
Albania was deemed less free than North Macedonia, Poland, Kosovo, Romania, Moldova, Bulgaria, Greece, and even Tunisia. It managed to outperform Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, and Hungary.
Top of the list was Denmark, Switzerland, Norway, Canada, Sweden and Finland, all categorized as Open. Bottom was North Korea, Eritrea, Turkmenistan, Syria, and Bahrain.
The press freedom ARTICLE 19 organization noted that 2019 saw rising violence across Europe against journalists, accompanied by high levels of impunity and stigmatizing rhetoric from public officials. They noted that in Albania, anti-press speech is worse than ever and their 2019 visit to Albania revealed a “toxic pattern of smear tactics and attacks”.
During their visit in Albania, ARTICLE 19’s press mission expressed their concern over a deterioration of press freedom and a failure to meet obligations under the European Convention on Human Rights.
They noted that the situation in Albania was one of the worst in the region and was deteriorating, leading to “particularly worrying concerns” that the current climate was paving the way for increased violence and threats to journalists. They criticized politicians in particular, stating that every side of the political spectrum was “engaging in a hostile rhetoric against the media”.
Albania marked another fall for two places in Reporters Without Borders World Press Index 2020, published in April. It has dropped a total of seven places since 2018, marking a serious decrease in media freedom and the rights of journalists in the EU-hopeful country.