EU Scrutinises Controversial Albanian Media Legislation

Abania Prime Minister Edi Rama speaking at his party headquarters on 30 June 2019. Photo: Gent Shkullaku/LSA

"We are now examining very carefully this new draft adopted by the Council of Ministers that will go to parliament in September," Soreca told Albanian Public Television.

Prime Minister Edi Rama's office announced last week that it has approved an "anti-defamation package" which had been "consulted upon with the EU and OSCE".

However, Soreca said the European Commission was aware of a previous draft but not the current one that has been approved by the government.

"The European Commission and the EU delegation [to Albania] have already shared with the government comments on the previous draft back in spring," Soreca said.

"It is a very important law, and must be examined with care and we are doing so together with our international partners," he added.

Albanian rights organisations and journalists have criticised both laws and the way in which Rama has been attempting to get them approved without proper consultation

They have also highlighted a discrepancy between what the laws say and what government officials have said is their aim.

The laws have been presented as an anti-defamation initiative, an attempt to fight 'fake news' or to protect children from online abuse, and empower the country's Audiovisual Media Authority to impose fines of up to 8,300 euros on online media and oblige them to pay the fines before they can lodge a complaint in a court.

Elvin Luku, a media expert from MediaLook Center, questioned the validity of the government's claims.

"How the government knows whether online media are the biggest producers of Fake News?" he asked.

"Does the government have any statistics or has...

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