Media Freedom Day
On the International Day of Free Press, the US Ambassador to Tirana,
Alexander Arvizu, declares through an article that the future of Albania
at the European Union depends on a strong and independent media.
“In Albania, the picture has been mixed. On the positive side, progress was seen in the enactment of important defamation legislation last February. This was a real step forward. However, on the other side, the Department of State’s annual Human Rights Report noted a number of areas that need improvement”, Arvizu declared.
“The media were active and largely unrestrained; however, there were cases of direct and indirect political pressure on the media, including threats against journalists. At times political pressure and lack of funding constrained the independent print media, and journalists reported that they practiced extensive self-censorship…”
The US Ambassador, Alexander Arvizu, refers to censure and the working conditions with the lack of contracts, which makes journalists report without objectivity.
“The U.S. Embassy in Tirana hopes that all players – the Parliament of Albania, media outlets, and individual journalists – will move forward with a concerted effort to make the needed changes that will advance freedom of the media in Albania. Albania’s rightful future in the European Union depends on a strong and independent media”, he declared.
The US Ambassador says that in some cases, it is not just governments attacking, intimidating, and threatening journalists. It’s also criminals – drug cartels – terrorists or political factions.
“When journalists are threatened, attacked, jailed, or disappeared, other journalists self-censor. They stop reporting stories. They tone down stories. They omit details. Sources stop helping them. Their editors hesitate to print stories. Fear replaces truth. All of our societies suffer”, Arvizu underlined.
In his article, Arvizu makes a picture of the world political developments, starting from the Middle East and North Africa, journalists, bloggers, filmmakers and pundits chronicled the protests sweeping across the region, while some citizens armed with nothing but cell phones risked their lives to upload the truth – by text, tweet, and pixel.