Interview: Aleksander Cipa, chairman of Union of Journalists Albania

In our view, the most significant problem of Albanian media scene is related to informality, which is a dimension we inherited throughout the transition period.

Media  is dominated by interest groups that misuse it, degrading and annihilating journalists’ integrity and objectivity.

What are current problems and challenges in Albanian media?

In our view, the most significant problem of Albanian media scene is related to informality, which is a dimension we inherited throughout the transition period. This is evident first of all in the absence of any form of work contracts in the Albanian media labor market. There is visible lack of trade union movement reaction in the context of Albanian media. The second major problem is related to financial crisis in the media, which is not publicly accepted and has not stirred any reactions from media operators. However, this crisis is evident and visible each day, especially in the massive delays of salaries for journalists. The other equally serious problem is the weak implementation of media regulation, especially the regulation related to media as the fourth estate in a functional democracy. Another equally worrying problem in our view is related to the selective policies in distribution donations and public funds for the media. This has divided media into two categories: favored and discriminated against from the financial point of view. Finally, media in Albania is dominated by interest groups that misuse media, degrading and annihilating journalists’ integrity, objectivity, and what we consider as classic principles of professional reporting in the media. Another challenge Albanian media faces is that there is often the phenomenon of professional discrimination of journalists. Due to the lack of work contracts and stable work conditions, a person that has invested for many years in his career as a journalist, one day might be at the top of newsroom hierarchy, while the next he might be just a simple reporter. This degrades the professional integrity of journalists. Over 70% of journalists in Albania today have tried the fate of suffering the misery of social poverty. This is one of the most significant challenges, drawing reactions from trade union structures and journalists’ associations. Finally, in my view, Albania is among those countries that have an improved media regulation. Unfortunately, this regulation has not been followed by a self-regulation process, which are still in an embryonic stage, or a process that has yet to start.
Impression on project:

I find the project an excellent initiative. I think that for the first time it creates a climate of cooperation between media actors and organizations that study media environment in South Eastern Europe. The project enables some of the most important colaborators of media studies and media processes to be involved in this initiative. Personally I find that the project brings together important elements of media professionals in the country. It also targets specific actors of the media scene, which, together, will be able to realize not only through photographing this scene, but also specifically create a moment of cooperation, with the aim of bringing to the fore some of the most significant aspects that shed light on the ongoing process of media evolution, as well as on its future. Finally, in my view, since this project has a complex nature, it creates the possibility for many actors of the media scene to be placed in a new reference light within the process of media evolution. This is one of the most appreciated effects of the project in my opinion.  

Watch this statement in video format:

Media Integrity