Due to the lack of self-regulation in media there is a decay of quality journalism as additional safeguards of media freedom and power. The trust between the media and public has been damaged.
The laws already in place are repressive enough towards the journalists who are often sent to court and even fined for doing their job. The latest attempt from the government was in November 2015, when a draft law to consider a penal crime the so called “defamation about high profile figures” provoked a huge reaction in media and politics, causing the withdrawal of the government from this draft.
Albanian Media Council, is willing to reinforce and ensure respect for the Code of Ethics, as an interactive form of self regulation, through a mechanism of resolving complaints. It avoids
lengthy and expensive court procedures and, even though the body provides only moral sanctions, a right of reply or a correction is often enough to satisfy complainants.
To download a copy of statute of AMC please click here.
Media Board – A credible alternative to the court
The COMPLAINS BOARD project aims at creating an independent and referencial service that will be the catalyst of the public complaints whenever the code of ethics is violated by the media.
A Brief Evaluation of the media landscape in Albania
The latest version of Code of Ethics dates in 2006, but it is not rigorously applied or referred to or adhered to. The continuous breaches of the Code have become the standard while the editorial attention to these breaches has been lowered, weakened or alienated.
Media continue to publish “facts” and names without double checking. These publications often target innocent individuals, whose private, professional or social lives gets substantially damaged due to the irresponsibility of such publications. Although the Code of Ethics express it clearly that in such cases media should repair the wrongdoing, this never occurs, leaving the public largely disappointed by the media outlets or specific journalists.
The level of interim control in media is at the lowest levels. Journalists are rarely asked to double and triple check facts and there is almost no attention to the feelings of those damaged by such publications. In case of conflicts with the public, these are rarely solved institutionally or conform the code of ethics, but, mostly (when individuals are persistent) the “solution” comes through back channels.
There is no reporting or data or publications that can statistically specify the number and the profile of the damage done to individuals by media publications, neither the number of media or journalists or cases of Code Ethics breach. In assumption of the situation, we can conclude that for these reasons (and other) the trust on the profession is at the lowest levels.
The losing of the public has forced the media into becoming dependent on the powerful or rich, who in turn buy “the truth”. The level of communication with the public is superficial and never on the theme of journalist Ethics.
In this case, the Complains Board may bring a welcoming change based on the building of a professional, reliable, independent service, especially when it is built by journalists themselves. The trust, may be restored.