21 April 2020 Reaction of the President of the Republic, H. E. Ilir Meta
Deeply concerned about Albania’s regression year after year in relation to the media freedom and independence.
Deterioration in the World Press Freedom Index, according to the annual conclusions of the world organization of journalists “Reporters Without Borders”, is unacceptable and requires an immediate response from everyone.
I fully support the warning of “Reporters Without Borders” that the so-called “anti-defamation” package will worsen the situation in which the media and journalists in Albania are today.
I call once again on the government to withdraw and review the package of adopted laws, which, as the world organization of journalists draws attention to, and as I have warned:
– Violates the basic constitutional principles of a democratic state;
– Violates the right to freedom of expression, of the press and the right to information;
– It is contrary to the jurisprudence of the Constitutional Court;
– Violates the standards of the European Convention on Human Rights.
Freedom of expression is a fundamental human right, an indispensable pillar of a modern democratic society, and vital to ensuring accountability by all public institutions.
The concern of “Reporters Without Borders” that the use of the earthquake disaster, and the serious consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic, cannot justify the violation of the freedom of the press, requires a serious and responsible reflection.
On this occasion, I express my deep gratitude and full solidarity for the excellent heroic work of the media, journalists and their support staff on the front line of reporting, in the service of public information, transparency and protection of health of every citizen, and I repeat the appeal not to abandon them in these extremely difficult moments!
Expressing full solidarity with all journalists, especially those affected in their mission in the service of freedom, of citizens and in the interest of consolidating our entire democratic system, I emphasize that the regression towards freedom and independence of the media is unacceptable and extremely harmful to our country which aspires to be a member of the European Union.