From: Exit Staff
Basha Calls on Government to Drop Media Bills and Stop ‘War on Free Speech’

Opposition leader Lulzim Basha condemned the government initiative to pass in parliament two laws on online media, a move he called “a war on free speech.”

Basha said Prime Minister Edi Rama is trying to conceal government abuses through censorship when he should waste no time in implementing the conditions set by the Bundestag.

At an event organized by his Democratic Party Youth Forum, Basha stated that:

“The prime minister will present two bills on Wednesday that are declarations of war against free speech. Nothing is accidental. He will hide abuses through media censorship, which is why he needs a so-called “anti-defamation package”.

Basha underlined that Albania dropped 8 places in the Transparency International Corruption Perceptions Index last year, and that the two bills on online media aim at impeding freedom of expression in order to “conceal and manipulate the dire situation” in Albania due to corruption.

The opposition leader called on the government to keep the German parliament’s conditions for opening EU accession talks with Albania as the roadmap out of crisis.

“If we fail to guarantee free vote, we will never have a responsible government […] Albania has lost six years. The Bundestag conditions are our guide. Time cannot wait. [Rama] cannot deceive Merkel and Macron with his propaganda and shows. It is urgent to start with meeting the Bundestag conditions, as soon as possible, as the time is short,” Basha said.

The government-drafted media laws, which Rama has stated his Socialist majority will pass this week, have been criticized earlier by the OSCEEuropean UnionCouncil of Europe, UNDP, international and local media organisations and journalists.