Gathered in Hotel Tirana on December 13th, The Albanian Journalists made the following statement about the new laws against freedom of media.
Journalists, media, organizations and social groups through this statement calls upon the Government of Albania to immediately withdraw the two draft-laws presented as “Andi-Defamation Package”. This request is not negotiable. We call upon the government of Albania to immediately withdraw them.Organizations assess that the two draft-laws, the one that aim to transform the Audiovisual Media (AMA) Authority in a censorship office and the other, that aims to transform the Communication Authority in an office for the execution of the AMA decisions of censorship, are of no precedent in the democratic world. Questions of ethics, such as the right for answer against a claim, or the right to respond before the publication of an allegation, in any democratic country are a matter of the codes of ethics and of the structures of self-regulation. Matters of hybrid warfare, disinformation, the financing of media or of political parties and groups by dirty money sourced by politicians or organized crime are a matter that should be investigated by law enforcement agencies within the rights and duties granted to them by existing laws, such as penal code or penal procedural code. Albania has laws that regulate the matters when media infringe upon the rights of others and any further intervention, including that of the creation of an administrative body, are absolutely not necessary in a democratic country. The matters of defamation or libel in the Republic of Albania and in any other country under the rule of law should be settled only in courts as independent power. The attempt to substitute courts with organs directly controlled by political power creates the basis for serious violation of the human rights and could be used as a founding stone for a dictatorial regime.