From: Alice Taylor
EU Ambassadors Speak Out on Controversial Media Law

Both the Dutch and Swedish Ambassadors to Albania have joined in the support for media freedom following the news that the government plan to implement the controversial “anti-defamation” law without taking into account the recommendations of the Venice Commission.

Yesterday, EU Ambassador Luigi Soreca reiterated that any amendments to the law should be in line with the Commission. He encouraged the government to undertake proper consultations with media organisations and civil society as well as national and international media organisations. Soreca concluded that the EU will be watching to ensure it is in line with relevant international and European standards.

Swedish Ambassador Elsa Hastad retweeted, stating that “strong and independent media is crucial for democracy”.

Guusj Korthals Altes, the Dutch Ambassador also tweeted that “independent media and strong civil society are essential elements of a healthy democracy.

The Albanian government’s insistence on enforcing the media law could jeopardise its EU aspirations. The European Commission stated that “amending the media law in line with the recommendations of the Venice Commission” remains an important priority prior to the opening of accession talks.

Susanne Schutz, Director for the Western Balkans and the German Foreign Office also noted that “The new media bill in Albania does not yet reflect the best international standards and practices.’ She said it requires improvements so it could be considered as an encouraging step on Albania’s path to the EU.