From: Exit Staff
Albanian Media Issued with Gag Order Over Organised Crime Case

Albanian newsrooms have been gagged by prosecutors in an attempt to stop them from publishing stories about a major criminal case that has received significant attention in the past few weeks and involved several organised crime groups, according to Balkan Insight.

Earlier this month, information on two justice collaborators who helped prosecutors in issuing some 32 arrest warrants was leaked to the media. Prosecutors Altin Dumani, Behar Dibra, and Doloreza Musabelliu issued the order, banning media from publishing anything else related to the matter.

It mentions,”the importance of the statements given by those two citizens and the fact we are in the preliminary intensive investigation phase and many investigative acts are being carried out.”

They justify the gagging order by continuing that the statements from the informants are valuable and essential to the investigation, therefore “the need to have these statements covered by secrecy is necessary to order the protection of secrecy up to the conclusion of the preliminary investigations.”

Stories relating to the investigation, the crime, and the individuals involved have been all across Albanian media over the last few weeks. A large operation took place on 19 May and many were arrested, however, those considered the bosses and heads of the organisations were not arrested and remain at large.

Those violating the gagging order face up to three years in prison, including journalists. They could also face up to six years if the information they publish relates to a witness under protection, or an informant. Despite these laws being in place to prevent the leaking of sensitive information, various portals decided to publish the information regardless.