Tirana: parliamentary exchange on ‘Freedom of expression in the media’

A seminar on “Freedom of expression in the media” organised by PACE, in cooperation with the Albanian parliamentary delegation, was held in Tirana on 24 February 2017. It provided an opportunity for enhanced dialogue on the issue, adopting a peer-to-peer approach, between parliamentarians of the Parliament of Albania and members of parliaments of other Council of Europe member States. Good practices were shared and synergies created with local and international experts from civil society and institutions in the field of Media.

It showed to be very timely, and gathered a substantial number of high level personalities, including the Albanian Minister of Innovation and Public Administration, the Head of the Council of Europe Office in Tirana, the Ambassador to the OSCE Presence in Albania and the Representative of the European Union Delegation in Albania. The seminar provided substantive food for thought on ways to foster a pluralist and transparent media environment in Albania, especially in the context of the missions of the public broadcaster (RTSH) and the Audiovisual Media Authority (AMA).

Ms Valentina Leskaj (SOC), Chairperson of the Albanian Delegation to the PACE and promoter of the initiative, highlighted the Parliament’s support to the reform of the public service broadcaster, and presented many areas of reform of the Albanian legislative framework on Media (ex. decriminalisation of defamation), and the reinforcement of media regulations.

There was a common agreement that, in terms of legislation, Albania made significant achievements, the most important laws on media and freedom of expression being adopted. While participants emphasised on the necessity to limit political interference with media professionals, they agreed that a proper strategy needed to be devised to implement the adopted laws.

This seminar intended to implement the Council of Europe Action Plan for Albania 2015-2017, adopted by the Committee of Ministers. It aims in particular at empowering parliamentarians to improve legislation and operational mechanisms in four policy areas: Media, Corruption, Justice and Discrimination.