Albania needs to ensure that media law meets the standards of the Venice Commission – EURACTIV.com
The European Council has asked the Albanian government to adapt the draft of the amendment to the media law to the recommendations of the Venice Commission, which it has not been able to do so far, reports Exit.al.
On Monday, European ministers met in the General Affairs Council and unanimously approved the Council’s conclusions on enlargement. In addition to concerns about migration and property rights, the Council called on Albania “to resume efforts to make tangible progress on freedom of expression and the safety of journalists”.
That call came on the same day a journalist was attacked by two men in Tirana, in a year when there were no charges of crimes against media professionals. In addition, Albania continues to perform poorly and has continued a downward trend in Reporters Without Borders’ World Press Freedom Index in 2021 since Prime Minister Edi Rama took office.
The law, which currently removes a parliamentary vote from coming into effect, would bring all online media under the control of a parliament-appointed body headed by Rama’s former communications advisor.
The Venice Commission was asked to review the law and did not hold back its criticism.
In its draft opinion dated May 28, the Commission considered the draft amendments “not ready for adoption in their current form” adding that the law “suffers from ambiguities and is likely to have a“ dissuasive effect ”on open discussion and discussion suppress political expression ”. […]. “
They call on the Albanian government to support the establishment of a self-regulatory body and to make those responsible for the law politically independent.
Finally, the Venice Commission recommends “reconsidering the adoption of the law” as it “could do more harm than good to freedom of expression in the country”.
The changes were approved by the socialist majority a year ago and then rejected by the president. It remains on Parliament’s agenda and can be decided at any time by a simple majority.
Despite calls from thousands of journalists, many journalists’ organizations and members of civil society, the European Commission has refused to make the repeal of the law a condition of participation in the first Intergovernmental Conference, which marks the official start of the EU accession talks.
(Alice Taylor | Exit.al/en)