From: Alice Taylor
Albanian Prime Minister Denies Criminal Code Amendments Will Criminalise Memes

The media has published an alleged draft amendment to the Criminal Code which would see those posting offensive memes punished by up to one year in prison.

Allegedly drafted by the Ministry of Justice, the amendments pertain to the chapter “Criminal offences against human rights, human dignity and fundamental freedoms”. It would be applicable to anyone whose image is damaged by the meme.

“Publication in any form, manner, or means of a montage made with the words or image of a person without his consent, if it is performed for the purpose of material or immaterial gain, or when it’s intended to damage the reputation of a person when the material does not clearly show that it’s a montage, or if it’s not explicitly mentioned as such, it constitutes a criminal contravention and is punishable by imprisonment of up to one year.”

The document states that the criminal prosecution begins with a complaint by the victim or his or her legal representative. Imprisonment can be avoided if the image or video is withdrawn.

Prime Minister Edi Rama has denied that the government is planning to pass these amendments. In a Twitter post he said:

“Some analysts have revolted and said they will be punished with the Criminal Code, starting from I do not know what unofficial material!  But how can memes be banned by law? Can these oracles of the nation tell us? There is no chance…”

He then elaborated on the amendments during a TV show with journalist Alfred Lela. During the conversation, he said that the amendments were drafted by a working group and are not meant to target memes.

“It’s material written by a working group…It’s taking from some European criminal codes and is not related to memes but misinterpretation. It was not the intention to deal with memes. The article must pass with my consent and with the consent of all…I have never liked politicians who do not like satire,” he said.