From: Alice Taylor
Rama Pledges Protection for Rights of Journalists Following Opening of EU Negotiations

One day after the official opening of negotiations with the European Union, Prime Minister Edi Rama oversaw a ceremony with the raising of the EU flag outside the prime minister’s office in Tirana.

During the speech, he thanked international partners and said the path to membership is set to become more difficult. He also pledged to increase the engagement of the government and improve governance, as well as work harder to improve media freedom.

“This new phase requires a new protection of the rights of journalists as spokespersons of the public interest, but also as employees therefore we will engage on both fronts, either to reflect on our mistakes and to perfect the line of conduct, but also to interact with the community of journalists and their representatives, in order to solve their problems and big problems in relation to employers,” said the prime minister.

He also apologised to the public for mistakes made and those that he is not yet aware of. He said he has not made mistakes with the aim of benefitting at the expense of Albanians.

“I thank all the Albanians who, with their trust, made me such an important part of this journey, I deeply apologize for my mistakes, assuring them that none of them is a a mistake that stems from the intention to profit at their expense, and from the depths of my soul I tell them today that I have never been more motivated to deserve their trust!,” said Rama.

His comments regarding the media come after Albania fell to 103 in the Reporters Without Borders World Press Freedom Index, with issues such as a lack of plurality, poor enforcement of labour laws, and political pressure mentioned by the international watchdog.

Maintaining a good standard of media freedom is a core EU value and will be reviewed in depth in this years European Commission report due in the autumn.