TIRANA, December 17
The Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights, Dunja Mijatovic expressed concern on a statement issued on Tuesday regarding two bills that would restrict freedom of expression is passed by the Parliament of Albania.
“I am deeply concerned to learn that this week the Albanian Parliament pursued the examination of two draft laws, known as the “Anti-Defamation Package,” the Commissioner said.
Moreover, she added that laws are in need of urgent improvement because several provisions are indeed not compatible with international and European human rights standards which protect freedom of expression and freedom of the media.
“I am particularly concerned that discretionary powers given to regulatory bodies, the possibility to impose excessive fines and to block media websites without a court order, as well as the introduction of state regulation of online media, may deal a strong blow to freedom of expression and media freedom in the country. It is of the utmost importance to ensure that the Internet remains an open and public forum and that self-regulation by the media, including online media, prevails.
I therefore urge members of the Parliament of Albania to review the current drafts and bring them in line with the case law of the European Court of Human Rights and Council of Europe standards,” Commissioner Mijatovic concluded.
European Commission’s replys to Albanian media questions regarding the adoption of the media law package
The Delegation European Union to Albania published on Tuesday the European Commission’s reply to Albanian media questions regarding the adoption of the media law package:
“The Commission has reviewed the legislative package on media, provided comments and expressed concerns throughout the drafting process.
The Commission has urged the authorities to take into consideration the comments made by the OSCE and the recommendations of the Council of Europe, mobilised through EU funds, to ensure compliance with the European standards in the field of freedom of expression. Those recommendations include, inter alia, limiting the scope of regulation only to online audio-visual media services, promoting instead self-regulation, ensuring independent judicial review of media related complaints and strengthening the transparency of media ownership in the country.
The relevant Committees in the Parliament have last night adopted a revised draft of the package. However, this draft does not take on board several recommendations made by the international actors and thus still raises concerns. It is important that all those recommendations – reiterated today by the Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights, Dunja Mijatović – are taken into due account before the final adoption of the law.”
Read also: OSCE Urges Further Amendments to Law on Audiovisual Media
Source/Photo Credit: coe.int