The Media Monitoring Board meeting was held at the premises of National Council
of Radio and Television, a building that today is situated in the midst
of political parties’ offices, near the Tirana Municipality and the
offices of the candidates for Mayor.
Giuseppe Milazzo, ODIHR analyst for media, was also present at this meeting. After the meeting he gave no comment for the journalists. Sources say that he has held the same stance also during the meeting, by only taking notes.
Four majority members of the MMB, who proposed what CEC decided, argued that the TV stations have no reason to refuse the videos, since they accepted them on 2009 elections. While the balance of the broadcasting time between the candidates is a deficiency of the election code, which they tried to regulate with their propositions. These arguments were opposed by the three minority members, who said that MMB competences do not include Election Code amendments. MMB propositions can be used for further election reforms.
As for obliging the media to accept edited electoral materials, the three MMB minority members strongly opposed it arguing that it is against basic journalism principles. They displayed to the ODIHR representatives a copy of the letter that Top-Channel’s director sent to the MMB on this matter.
This problem is expected to be included in the further observing reports, and this has also been asked by two journalism societies, the Albanian Journalists Union and the League of Journalists, who did not spare their words to criticize the CEC decision.
“The Albanian Journalist Union raises the voice by asking the authorities to react against this partial decision, because such decisions reduce the reporter’s integrity on terrain and leave free way to manipulations”, declared the Union director, Alexander Çipa.
Mr. Çipa declared that he would ask for a meeting with the ODIHR observers. The journalist societies appealed for solidarity between TV journalists and their leaders.