Albanian Journalists ‘Feel Unprotected’ After PM’s Angry Outbursts

Media experts say Albanian journalists are struggling to deal with the political and professional pressures they are under after Prime Minister Edi Rama lashed out at two reporters in recent months, refusing to answer their questions because he said they were "unethical".

Rama told the journalists that they should undergo "re-education" and temporarily barred them from his press conferences.

Erlis Cela, a professor at Beder University in Tirana, said that journalists are facing "double pressure" - from external sources such as politicians, and from internal sources such as media owners and managers who do not protect them from politicians' insults and threats.

"Politics is the main source of direct pressure on journalists. We are witnesses to blackmail, insults and denigrating statements by various politicians towards journalists," Cela told BIRN.

Cela argued that journalists come under pressure from within their news organisations because media owners want to maintain good relations with the government and prime minister.

"This ownership structure is the source of many of the problems that the media faces today. As long as the media is part of large business groups, whose owners profit by taking public tenders and using public money, benefiting from non-transparent relations with politics, journalists will continue to be under double pressure and unprotected," he explained.

Ervin Goci, a professor of journalism at the University of Tirana, argued that "in this relationship between the government and the media, the journalist has no weight or power".

Osman Stafa, a journalist based in Tiran, argued that it is not the prime minister's job to define whether a question is ethical, serious or correct, but to answer the...

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