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Pressure from politicians, owners limits media freedom in Albania - Friedrich Naumann Foundation

Pressure from politicians, owners limits media freedom in Albania - Friedrich Naumann Foundation Media freedom

TIRANA (Albania), December 18 (SeeNews) - Freedom of media is considered partially free in Albania due to strong pressure from politicians and media owners leading to self-censorship, intimidation and violence against journalists, a report by German foundation for liberal politics Friedrich Naumann Foundation shows.

The fear of losing their job has been a significant driver of self-censorship among journalists, according to the Europe Edition of Freedom Barometer published by German foundation for liberal politics Friedrich Naumann Foundation. Intimidation and violence against journalists were also tools that limited media freedom in Albania, while a journalist known for his investigations into corruption was beaten in March,it added.

Albania ranked 18th out of the 30 countries included in the study, which takes into consideration the July 2016 – June 2017 period. The study measures 10 factors relating to political freedom, rule of law and economic freedom.

Regarding Albania’s judiciary, the report said that the constitutional changes adopted unanimously by the country’s parliament in July 2016 would expectedly take several years to be fully implemented in order to establish a system of rule of law compatible with the desired Albania`s membership in the EU.

“Along the new laws, some of which already passed, all judicial institutions in the country would be restructured starting from 2017,” the report added.

The report notes the positive developments in the anti-corruption struggle, despite a low starting point.

“Private property in Albania is not adequately protected. The biggest concern is low judicial independence from powerful political and business interest groups. Contract enforcement is plagued with many other problems: long procedures, high costs and corruption within the judiciary,” the report reads.

State owned enterprises in the energy sector such as the power corporation KESH and power distributor OSHEE still pose a significant risk for public finances due to inefficient management and operational policies, although resources allocated to them have decreased, the foundation said.

“The process of privatization of state companies and their assets, when they are bankrupt, is progressing slowly. Privatization of Albpetrol, the state oil company, is in question, since it was postponed several times,” Friedrich Naumann Foundation added.