This publication aims to highlight the main models and elements that media in Albania manifest regarding hate speech, propaganda and disinformation and also to identify ways of countering these narratives. According to this research, even though the media is rarely active in fighting hate speech in the country, it cannot be said that it is a source of hate speech or that it is actively promoting it. Politicians often push hate speech narratives, which the media publishes or reflects, provoking protest from some human rights organizations. On the other hand, there is a visible problem with ethics and lack of moderation in User Generated Content, more specifically in users’ comments sections of online media.
In addition, contrary to hate speech narratives, which are rarely present, attempts to misinform and spread propaganda are a constant trend in the Albanian media. While the furthering of foreign propaganda is confined to a limited number of media, the use of conspiracy theories and sensationalism to further media popularity, unfortunately, is not. Few online media outlets have escaped the trend of publishing conspiracy theories, which turned into a frenzy especially with the emergence of the coronavirus. Even television stations, which are supposed to have more filters and be more responsible about their content, have intensified this kind of coverage. Proponents of conspiracy theories are readily present in a few television stations in their main current affairs programmes, amplifying these theories and information, which leads to an increasingly greater influence on the public, especially given the lack of programmes or education on media literacy.
The degree of freedom in the online media does not correspond to an equal degree of professional responsibility on their part. In addition, even though television channels are more regulated and are under greater supervision from the regulatory authority, they also are far from engaging in professional self-inspection of their practices and self-regulating accordingly. It remains to be seen whether current self-regulation efforts in the country will impact the situation positively.
This publication was produced within Resilience: Civil Society for Media Free of Hate and Disinformation, a regional project financially supported by the European Union and implemented in the Western Balkans and Turkey by a consortium of media development organizations led by SEENPM. It is part of a series of publications on the same general topic researched in Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo, Montenegro, North Macedonia, Serbia and Turkey (all publications are available on the SEENPM website).
Download the publication in English and in national language.
The regional program ‘RESILIENCE: Civil society action to reaffirm media freedom and counter disinformation and hateful propaganda in Western Balkans and Turkey’ is implemented with the support of the European Union by partner organizations SEENPM, Albanian Media Institute, Mediacentar Sarajevo, Kosovo 2.0, Montenegrin Media Institute, Macedonian Institute for Media, Novi Sad School of Journalism, Peace Institute and Bianet.