At the opening of the two-day conference EU–Western Balkans Media Days, Prime Minister Edi Rama continued his attacks on the Albanian media, which he claimed were untrustworthy and “violate […] the dignity of people in Albania […] from morning to midnight”:
It is a fact that Freedom House, Reporters without Borders, EC in their reports on the media come to conclusion that the media outlets in our region are partially free.
Freedom of expression is a fundamental right and the most powerful weapon in our hands to fight injustices, including corruption and negative phenomena, down the path to EU integration. Yet, as a weapon to protect the values and principles of freedom and democracy of the European family, this should in no way be used to kill off freedom, values and principles on the basis of which the entire mechanism functions
Unfortunately, the violation and invasion of the dignity of people in Albania happen from morning to midnight. Even now that we are talking together a violation of such nature is happening.
The media in Albania have turned into untrustworthy institutions for the public. Fake news obscures the truth.
The founding father of Italian journalism said that you shouldn’t trust a rich journalist and I’m speaking about Albania where the media are growing like a tumor in the hands of the rich.
The duty to seek it and not leaving the freedom of the media in the free fall of its daily degradation is the duty of the entire society.
The attacks of Prime Minister Rama on the media have intensified over the last few days, and have been interpreted as a tactic to deflect attention from the large scandals in which his government is currently engulfed, such as the involvement of his former Minister of Interior and right hand Saimir Tahiri in an international drug trafficking cartel, and the role of former Minister of Defense Mimi Kodheli in the “operational issues” with the naval radars, which mysteriously failed to register a single boat crossing the Adriatic with drugs.
Only two weeks ago, Prime Minister Rama openly attacked journalists outside Parliament after the Council for Mandates and Immunity voted not to fully revoke Tahiri’s parliamentary immunity at the request of the Prosecution of Serious Crimes:
First of all, shame on all of you and everyone like you who still didn’t understand what this is about and continue to scream with those questions without point or meaning.
You still didn’t understand that we are today in simple conditions, clear for anyone that makes the effort to read 5 lines before they shout.
You still didn’t understand that first of all the immunity of the deputy [Tahiri] has been withdrawn for a long time. We are not in a situation where we discuss whether to remove it or not. Did you understand? No.
Second, you still didn’t understand […] that are part of this big problem, not in this concrete example but in general, where accusations crackle and you convey them like a copper wire and don’t have the duty to think or the responsibility for what you are conveying.
A few days later, the Prime Minister advised a group of local and international businessmen not read the Albanian newspapers, “because it will upset [their] digestive system.”
Ironically, both the European Federation of Journalists and Reporters without Borders, referenced by the Prime Minister in his speech today, have highlighted their reports their “profound indignation over the insults and the attacks done by Prime Minister of Albania, Edi Rama to the Albanian media.”