Tirana: OSCE and EU urge respect for media freedom in government drafts

 Bernd Borschardt and Luigi Soreca 
 The OSCE and the EU said in Tirana today that they are still waiting for a new version of the draft media amendment, being prepared by the government, in order to respect the international standards of freedom of expression.

The representatives of these two organizations made these comments at the annual "Media Development Forum", dedicated to the situation of Albanian journalists and media.

OSCE and EU backed Albanian independent, professional online media today and called on lawmakers to ensure the highest standards of freedom of expression in drafting amendments to this area through an open debate on the concerns of all parties.

OSCE and EU representatives called for transparency and public debate on government-proposed legal changes to media regulation.

The officials should respond to letters and questions received from press representatives on these concerns - Ambassador Borschardt said.

"There is a growing awareness of the importance of decriminalizing media violations," said Bernd Borschardt. - We want them to remain outside the Criminal Code and we will continue to seek decriminalization. Also, the concentration of media ownership does not help their development and may be restricted by law."

Meanwhile, the head of the European Commission Delegation, Ambassador Luigi Soreca, said that journalists work in difficult conditions and are often under political pressure.

“Our funding is also addressing labor rights issues for Albanian journalists. We want to support independent investigative journalism. Journalists' organizations have all the support of internationals to improve the state of the press," said Ambassador Soreca, highlighting comments on the government's recent legal initiative on the media.

"The EU has called for this initiative to be fully within the European directives on audio-visual media. A new version of the reflected concerns was introduced, but that is not enough. A project that is fully aligned with freedom of expression standards and with EU policies still needs to be secured. The European Commission shares the same concern with international organizations as regards the lack of legal certainty regarding the audio-visual media and the authority dealing with media regulation. We believe that this will affect freedom of expression. The European Commission believes in self-regulation efforts, which puts journalists and users first. Of course the fake news is bad, but we must nonetheless have full respect for the principles of freedom of expression. We expect the new bill to be fully in line with these principles. We have the same goals; to create spaces for capable journalists to act ”- said Ambassador Soreca.

The annual OSCE Forum aims to facilitate professional dialogue on the most important topics of the Albanian media and today held its fifth edition.

A group of international press freedom organizations visited Tirana and issued a joint report expressing concern that the new draft amendments could limit press freedoms and the activity of Albanian journalists.
Tirana: OSCE and EU urge respect for media freedom in government drafts Tirana: OSCE and EU urge respect for media freedom in government drafts Tuesday, November 05, 2019 Rating: 5
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