The EU Progress Report on Albania for 2015 noted that progress on audiovisual policy has been slow. The regulator’s work has been hindered from lack of quorum of its members after legal dispute the opposition started on election of new AMA members in 2014. The report also stressed the delay in digital switchover, where the deadline of June 17 was not met, recommending that substantial efforts should be made in this respect. “This also applies to the delayed digitization of the public service broadcaster (RTSH), which needs to speed up preparations to ensure that networks can host its programmes and those of local operators,” the report stated.
With regard to freedom of expression, the report referred to a few cases involving threats to journalists, which, though rare, remain a cause for concern. The report also mentioned that although there have been no cases of defamation brought by politicians against journalists, more should be done to guarantee proper implementation of amendments on defamation. In addition, the new amendment proposed to hold administrators of news portals liable for filtering comments that offend human dignity was considered that might impose undue limits on freedom of expression. Similarly to last year, the report stressed that the transparency of hidden media ownership and of media financing remains problematic. “Concerns remain over the distribution of state advertising and public funds to media and business owners close to the government, as this affects fair competition among media businesses,” the report stated. According to the report, lack of organization of journalists and poor implementation of the labour code for both full-time journalists and freelancers is an issue of major concern.
Source: Albanian Media Institute