One of the largest Albanian TV broadcasters says he was ordered to close broadcasts after being fined by state health authorities for allegedly not respecting social distances in his shows.
The private broadcaster Ora News said that the state health inspectorate fined him for 2 million Albanian lek (about 16211 euros) and ordered him to stop the broadcast after two television presenters made programs with three people in the study, instead of two people, the maximum number allowed by the rules imposed to combat the pandemic.
The editor of Ora news: They are not closing the business, but freedom of speech.
“In the documents sent to the TV broadcaster there is an order to suspend the broadcasts without specifying when and for how long. It is unclear how such a decision can be made.
This decision is made in the absence of an act of assessment as required by law and procedure and at a time when the government is not carrying out any checks on the roads and other companies have started operating normally.
For the first time in 30 years of democracy, the closure of a television station, which has been targeted by the government as a critical media, is requested.
They want to stop broadcasting only because people are allowed to talk in the studio. This is intentional. The inspection was done only with photos, the inspectors did not come on television. They are not closing the business, but the free word. We have been honest with the spectators and the battle will continue "let the interested parties know.
The decision sparked numerous reactions from journalists and opposition.
The Association of Professional Journalists of Albania reacted on the decision to close Ora News.
Through a statement published on Facebook, the association expresses solidarity with colleagues on television. "This is a selective gesture, in no way proportional to the alleged damage, an abuse of power under the pretext of the epidemic, to intimidate the media."
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