International organizations have reacted following the Albanian government decision to introduce two new bills affecting media. So, four of these organizations have sent a letter to PM Edi Rama, asking him not to approve these bills. European Federation of Journalists, European Center for the Freedom of Media and Press, PEN International and Reporters without Borders have criticized the two bills drafted by the Albanian government to regulate online media, which are included in the so called “anti-slander package”. This is a legal measure to amend the two existing laws which foresee the registration, monitoring, penalties and closure of online media.
“Your initiative is against best practices and goes against the recommendations of the OSCE which raises our deepest concern. If the current draft laws are passed by the Parliament, they will seriously impair free flow of information and will have chilling effect in online media and restrict the Albanian citizens’ right to access information”, the letter says. Meanwhile, these organizations express their profound dismay that “this legislation was drafted behind closed doors, without involving journalists and civil society organizations throughout the drafting process. As an EU candidate country, your government is
expected to be transparent and to involve all relevant stakeholders in initiatives concerning them”, the letter addressed by these four organizations.
Let us recall that the government’s bills require a media to register at the Authority for Electronic and Postal Communication. Under these bills, online media are closely scrutinized and may risk of being fined up to 8 thousand euros or even be shut down.