From: Alice Taylor
RSF: Apology Needed following Second Media Violation in Presence of Tirana Mayor Erion Veliaj

Reporters Without Borders have called for an apology after the “second obstruction to press freedom in less than a week in the presence of Tirana Mayor Erion Veliaj.”

In a tweet, they condemned the incident and called for investigations and apologies from political leaders.

On 16 April, Ora News journalist Isa Myzyraj was forcibly prevented from asking questions to the Mayor of Tirana Erion Veliaj. He was grabbed by his bodyguard, dragged away, and held until Veliaj had departed, despite repeatedly stating he is a journalist.

Then, on Sunday, Ora News journalist Ronaldo Sharka and his crew were surrounded by up to 40 Veliaj supporters during an electoral event in Kavaje. Sharka said they were assaulted, threatened, and intimidated and prevented from asking questions or reporting. Charges have been filed with the police.

RSF released the World Press Freedom Index 2021 today. Albania was ranked 83, an increase of one based on last year’s results, but the overall score decreased signaling a deterioration in media freedom.

Exit spoke to Pavol Szalai, Head of the European and Balkan desk at RSF.

“The state of press freedom in Albania continues to deteriorate according to the new World Press Freedom Index. Albania’s score has worsened. Albania has moved up by 1 rank, which is not significant. The ranking of each country depends also on the ranking of other countries.

Nobody who cares about press freedom can be satisfied with Albania’s ranking, which is 6th to the last in the EU/Balkans zone.”