The TV program "Fuori Tg" by Rai3 has dedicated one bet to freedom of the press in the Land of Eagles entitled "Albania, sewn mouths".
In Albania, press freedom is at risk. In a media scenario conditioned by strong editorial concentrations and increasingly close relations between publishing and political power, recent government measures risk muzzling information and complicating the work of reporters, with a possible domino effect in the fragile Balkan democracies. Guests in the studio of Maria Rosaria De Medici, Giuseppe Giulietti (president of the National Federation of the Italian Press) and Koloreto Cukali (member of the Albanian Media Council).
The chronicles of the earthquake
In the days of the earthquake emergency in Albania, three things happened: a girl from 25 years was arrested and on Facebook she had written that in the port of Durres there was a danger that a gas depot would explode; the chief editors of a TV and a website are threatened with arrest if they do not withdraw an article according to which the packages of donations to earthquake victims ended up at the Ministry of the Interior; then a famous website is blocked because in a public comment a number of victims is higher than the official one.
The section of Reporters Without Borders on freedom of the press says with great clarity that if the road to the European Union is still long for Albania it is also due to a problem of democracy that is also and above all based on freedom of the press.
82th place in the world rankings, in the 2018 the attack on Albanian journalists has reached levels never seen crushed between the government and organized crime, with insults, death threats, lawsuits to intimidate and stop corruption investigations. Even during the earthquake emergency political information in Albania travels on a single channel: it's called Edi Rama TV.
"Journalists have no chance of getting information from the government. We are perhaps a unique case in the world, certainly in Europe, where the prime minister and the mayor of Tirana give all the chronicles prepared by themselves.”- says journalist Armand Shkullaku in the report of RAI journalist Valerio Cataldi.
The same Cataldi then intervenes in the telephone studio to offer a direct testimony of freedom of the press in Albania during the earthquake emergency days:
"We carried out a special on drug trafficking in Albania [...] and the episode told Albania about drug trafficking, told how the Albanian mafia is a center of importance and strength, and also told how politics was somehow involved in investigations and in drug trafficking investigations.
That service when it aired caused a very strong reaction from the Albanian government. The premier wrote terrible things about Facebook against Facebook, said we were liars and that they were all made up and a series of comments and attacks via Facebook and via social networks were triggered.
Following this violent stance by the premier, death threats against me and the insults against our newscast came, which was accused of building fake news on news that is actually within everyone's reach and make sure."- declares Cataldi.
The new media law
"The prime minister has already protected almost all traditional media. However, he does not yet have online media in his control. This is why it is moving forward this law, to also check online media. The first thing to fear is that there will be a domino effect throughout the Balkans. "- declares Cukali in the studio.
"Regimes need darkness, it is a rule that applies in the world. This kind of attitude towards those who denounce is something that spreads. In Italy we have 24 escort reporters: those who do not want to know what is happening need darkness.
Also on the net they are going to make laws, unfortunately it is also spoken in Spain to break the connection on the basis of an undefined definition of public order, terrorism, risk for the nation. This is the word the regimes use, there is a security risk.
The reporter who asks an uncomfortable question becomes a security risk, that is a terrorist. Giving voices to those who risk losing their freedom concerns us because the gag laws would want to make someone in Italy too. Fighting for Albania means fighting for the 21 article of the Constitution in Italy. They are not separable themes."- declares Giulietti.
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