What explains this shift, from being the region that initially had among the fewest cases in Europe, to a surge?
Some country-specific reasons might explain individual cases, such as recent elections in Serbia and North Macedonia, or the government crisis in Kosovo, or protests in Montenegro and Serbia. However, none provides an overarching regional perspective.
Much was expected of the Special Anti-Corruption and Organised Crime Prosecution, better known by its acronym SPAK, but within weeks it had ruled that the so-called Bajri Group was not a group at all, saying it had no evidence to prove any of the crimes, bar the match-fixing, was committed by more than two of the defendants at a time - the benchmark for an organised criminal enterprise under Al
Critics say the demolition of the National Theatre is an old project of Prime Minister Edi Rama, since the time when he was Culture Minister in 1998 and proposed to build a tower in its place and incorporate the theatre inside.
The renewed bid to demolish the theatre divided artists and activists, and raised concerns among anti-corruption and heritage watchdogs.
Demolition workers bulldozing the National Theatre in Tirana, Albania, on May 17, 2020. Photo: Nensi Bogdani/BIRN
The demolition was bitterly opposed by activists, opposition politicians and artists who wanted the buildings originally constructed during World War II during the Italian occupation to be renovated.
Opposition Democratic Party leader Lulzim Basha speaking to journalists at the National Theatre on May 14, 2020. Photo: LSA
The municipal council adopted the decision to go ahead with demolition in an online meeting on Thursday, a councillor for the ruling Socialist Party told BIRN on condition of anonymity. A municipal spokesperson did not answer BIRN's request for clarification.
Albanian journalists and cameramen reporting about the COVID-19 pandemic in Tirana, on March 30, 2020. Photo: LSA
The report, "Attacks on media in Europe Must Not Become the New Normal", states that about 140 alerts were filed with the platform during 2019, including 103 from Turkey, 21 from Serbia and 11 from Albania.