Media owners strong links with Politics in Albania, over 90% of media market

 "The media market in Albania is controlled by a small group of owners with strong political ties": this is one of the conclusions reached by a study conducted by the Balkan Investigative Reporting Network in Albania (BIRN Albania) and Reporter Without Borders (RSF). Through a three-month search, the results of the "Media Ownership Monitor in Albania" shed light on the Albanian media market by publishing who owns it and who controls the media.

The results shows "very high concentration of audience in the Albanian media market". According to the results, "the four main owners in the television segment, Frangaj Family, Hoxha Family, the Dulaku Family and the Ndroqi Family, reach half of the total audience (between 48.93% and 58.60%) Three owners have five digital broadcast licenses, of whom one has received three. In radio, the audience's focus is even higher, with four owners controlling almost two-thirds (63.69%) of the audience. A middle concentration level can be distinguished only in the press where the four major owners have readability of combined with 43.29%. "While measurements of cross-sectoral media, TV, press, radio and online cross-media" found that the eight major owners reach an audience ranging from 72.1% to 80.1%."

Regarding the "market concentration", the study underlines that "the Albanian media market is small and overpriced, creating harsh economic pressures." 12 national daily national newspapers are owned by one person who controls 54 percent of the market. The four leading publishers in the country jointly control 86.5% of the press market. Despite the high number of media suggesting a quantitative supply offer, financial data shows that the 'lion's share of income is concentrated in a few family-owned media groups. The concentration within the market of free television broadcasts of the four largest owners is 89.6% - the two largest ones controlling more than two-thirds of the market (71.7% of revenues) - rising to 94% if digital broadcasting networks as well as the public broadcaster are included."

According to the study, "protective regulatory measures are missing. Although the audiovisual media market is regulated by law, most media experts perceive the regulatory body, the Audiovisual Media Authority, as being directly or indirectly influenced by political and corporate actors.

The research results, based on the methodology followed, conclude that "political control over the media in Albania is rated very high. The audience of owners with political ties varies from 65.18% to 75.86%." Such a situation according to the study has caused that "due to the pressure coming from media owners with political and economic interests, many Albanian journalists use self-censorship. In addition to the complicated network created around media owners' related interests, the media climate in Albania is under pressure from a number of other factors, including large corporate advertisers and government institutions. However, none of these external factors play such a huge impact to push journalists to self-censorship rather than the economic and political interests of their owners. "

Political media owners' links have rised the pressure. The study refers in particular to Prime Minister Edi Rama's relations with local media. "Media denigration often appears in Rama's rhetoric over the last few years coupled with an increase in his communication through social media to avoid questions from journalists. Some commentators have suggested that after the rich language used against media by Albanian politicians stands a 'bad language strategy', which aims to divert public attention from scandals by offering a ready-made television spectacle. Others see it as an attempt to delegitimize a handful of critical media and journalists who are not directly controlled by the oligarchs and indirectly by Rama, Meta, Berisha, and their clients. "

According to Kristina Vokos, BIRN Albania's Executive Director, "The myth that, despite the problems, the Albanian media represents a plurality of perspectives, has fallen. A small group reach more than half of the audience and reach over 90% of our media market revenue."

While Olaf Steenfadt, the RSF Global Project Manager Media Monitor said that "after many decades of transition and numerous efforts by civil society activists within Albania, and after important contributions from the international community, the media landscape seems to deviate from the path to independence, pluralism and sustainability," Steenfadt said, urging the elites to understand the value of a truly healthy media sector and act appropriately, taking into account the country's efforts to join the European Union."
Media owners strong links with Politics in Albania, over 90% of media market Media owners strong links with Politics in Albania, over 90% of media market Tuesday, March 13, 2018 Rating: 5
Powered by Blogger.