6 June 2019 STATEMENT OF THE PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC OF ALBANIA, H.E. ILIR META
The President of the Republic of Albania, H.E. Ilir Meta has followed with great attention and deep concern the publications on the well-known German newspaper “BILD”, of the interceptions of telephone conversations among some public officials in the District of Durres with individuals of criminal records during the parliamentary elections process of 2017.
The President of the Republic was also acquainted with the prosecution’s response to the publication of these interceptions, which via a written order requires the prohibition of the publication of these interceptions by the media.
The President of the Republic, expressing his deep concerns about this order issued by the Prosecutor’s Office at the First Instance Court for High Crimes states as following:
The legal references of Article 104 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, Article 295 / a, paragraph 3 of the Criminal Code, used by the Prosecutor’s Office, define legal obligations that are addressed to the state employees and the issuance of such an order indirectly intimidates the free media, which makes it unacceptable for a democratic society.
The Constitution of the Republic of Albania protects the fundamental right of the citizens to information. Article 22 thereof clearly sanctions that:
1. Freedom of expression is guaranteed.
2. Press, radio and television freedom is guaranteed.
3. Preliminary censorship of communication means is prohibited.
Article 23, point 1 clearly states that: The right of information is guaranteed.
No issued order can obtain the authority over this fundamental constitutional right of a free and independent media.
The President of the Republic encourages the Prosecutor’s Office to investigate with priority, impartiality and professionalism this publicly disclosed file, as well as any other files related to the manipulation of elections or the intimidation of citizens in order to deform their free will and distort the election results.
Any delay by the Prosecutor’s Office, in investigating and clarifying the truth, does not serve the general public interest.
The President of the Republic supports today’s reaction of the Union of Albanian Journalists on this issue and encourages all the courageous journalists in denouncing any criminal facts or records.
Restoring confidence in the free and fair elections is crucial not only for our healthy democratic coexistence as a society, but as well as for the opening of the negotiations for the European Union membership as soon as possible.