Media integrity research: Albania

Media integrity research: Albania
Overview of relevant rules in the law and in practice.
Transparency rules for all media in Albanian media legislation exist only partially. The ownership should be reported to the regulator and to the National Center of Registration.  Annual financial reports are submitted to the tax office and to the regulator, but media are not required to make ownership or finances public in a more general sense. The latest law on audio-visual media was approved in March 2013 and the regulator is still drafting complementary regulations, including the rules on transparency. It is still early to conclude the trend in this aspect. In practice, the National Center of Registration can be accessed online, offering information on ownership history of companies. However, there is no official attempt to verify the real owners of media and to offer transparency on media finances.
Merit system for nomination and appointment for members of regulatory body exists. Qualifications such as no less than 10 years of experience in the areas of media, broadcasting, content, media technology, competition, Albanian language development, art, vulnerable groups, law, technological development, consumer protection (Law 97/2013, Article 8) are requested. The merit system has been more or less the same for longer period, but the nomination process has varied. However, although the members appointed have had their merits, the main criteria for appointing them have been political decisions of MPs, rather than professional skills, following the criteria.
Editorial independence rules for public service broadcasting are provided in the media legislation in Albania to a certain extent.  The Law 97/2013, Article 91 stipulates, for instance, that the PBS should refrain from bias in the coverage of news events.  On the other hand, previous regulation more firmly stated that editorial independence is guaranteed by law for all media; such provision is missing in the current legislation, approved in March 2013. In practice, despite the law which used to guarantee editorial independence for all media, the main accusation against PSB through the years has been lack of independence, no matter who is in power.
See more in the Overview of de jure vs. de facto situation for Albania here.
(Photo: The Epoch Times)
Media Integrity
Media Policy and Reforms
Media Ownership and Finances
Public Service Media