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Copyright: Albanian Media Institute - Instituti Shqiptar i Medias, 2011
media legislation
Albanian media code of ethics
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Workshops on access to information with local media
New Code of Ethics and Ethical Guidelines for Online Journalism

The New Code of Ethics and the Ethical Guidelines for Online Journalism were presented at an event organized on March 29, 2018, in Tirana, with the participation of journalists, editors, representatives of regulatory authority, academics, civil society organizations, and media partners and actors in Albania, like OSCE, USAID, OSFA, etc. The final version of these documents went through a process of revision and exchange with similar practices and documents in other countries, as well as through a round of consultations with stakeholders in Albania.

The Roundtable was opened by Remzi Lani, director of Albanian Media Institute, who introduced the work done in the framework of the project and the future use of these two fundamental documents. Olsi Dekovi, Deputy Head of Office of Council of Europe office in Tirana highlighted the support that Council of Europe provides to initiatives relating to media freedom, media ethics, and professionalism, providing also a general overview of the main work being done in this regard in the framework of Council of Europe.

Afterwards, the two authors of the Code of Ethics, Lutfi Dervishi, and Mark Marku, presented the final version of the Code, stressing the efforts to incorporate the valuable feedback of the participants in the consultation process and making also the difference with the previous version of the Code. In addition, Darian Pavli and Blendi Salaj presented the finalized version of the Ethical Guidelines for Online Journalism, focusing on the main issues that online media professionalism presents and how these guidelines tried to address and solve ethical dilemmas in this respect.

The roundtable continued with general discussion on the documents presented and also on the need to implement them in the current stage of media professionalism problems. The definition and role of professional journalists was addressed during the discussion, as well as the possibilities of implementing the Code in the current context of the Albanian media development and the challenges in focusing on ethics when journalists suffer from other problems related to their economic and social status. Finally Koloreto Cukali, director of Media Council, closed the roundtable with a briefing on the commitment of the Media Council to promoting media ethics in the country, based on the revised Code of Ethics and the Ethical Guidelines of Online Journalism.

This effort was part of a project implemented by Albanian Media Institute and the Media Council, with the support of a joint project of the European Union and the Council of Europe.

In July the Albanian Media Institute continued the series of workshops on access to information and local government in the framework of a project that aims to improve transparency and accountability of local government and local public institutions through a more active role of local media and citizens, supported by Lëviz Albania. In this context, four one-day workshops were organized in the cities of Berat on July 7, Gjirokastra on July 13, Saranda on July 20, and Burrel on July 26. Participants in the workshop included journalists from local media and correspondents for national media outlets. The participants became familiar with the rights they are entitled to official information by the law passed in September 2014 and how they could use it to the advantage of their work.
The training included information on the main aspects of the FOIA law, the rights of citizens in applying for information on official documents, and the obligations of state authorities to respond. More specifically, the participants were instructed how to draft information request in the proper manner, in order to avoid direct refusal of official authorities to grant information on grounds of a poorly drafted or invalid request. The next step will be testing of the practices of local government in responding to requests for information, which will be an effort to measure the openness of local government, as well as identify the weak links and good practices in this aspect of governance.
South East European Partnership for Media Development Project Concluded
SEE ProjectThe South East European Partnership for Media Development Project ends today, after four years of hard but rewarding work by partners in Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia, Bulgaria and Romania. It brought together journalists, media centers and institutes, trade unions, CSOs, academics and policy makers whose combined efforts aimed at the development of independent and accountable media in the Western Balkans.

"It was a tremendous journey. We analyzed the lives of journalists and faced the challenges they face, all over the region. We tapped into positive energies but also hit obstacles more or less visible. We wish we could say that we find the region in a better state than four years ago. This is not the case. The threats to media freedom and independence are even more serious and the need for good, responsible journalism is bigger than ever. Good journalism needs not only good professionals and employers, but also good public, educated and willing to consume and support truth and transparency", said Ioana Avadani, director of the Center for Independent Journalism in Bucharest and project manager.

Under the project, the partners produced two overarching regional studies: one on the labour relations in the media in the region and a second one focusing on media literacy and education. The studies have been discussed at national and regional level by hundreds of journalists and scholars and resulted in policy recommendations. The partners also monitored the freedom of expression in the region and produced a series of studies addressing issues such as the hate speech on religious grounds, the digitalization of the media or the role of social media in setting up the public agenda.

"The project may end, but it will continue to produce results. We raised awareness of issues less addressed, we increased the advocacy capacities of media organizations, we put topics on the public agendas in the countries we worked in. It is important for our work to continue, for more and more stakeholders to join their efforts in protecting the freedom of expression, in all its forms", concluded Avadani.

SEE Partnership for Media Development was implemented by a consortium coordinated by the Center for Independent Journalis, (Romania) and composed of: Albanian Media Institute, Mediacenter for Media and Civil Society Development (BiH), Media Initiatives - Association for Media Development and Promotion of Professional Journalism (BiH), Macedonian Institute for Media (Macedonia), Montenegro Media Institute (Montenegro), Foundation Media Center (Serbia), Media and Reform Centre Nis (Serbia), Media Development Center (Bulgaria). Media professionals from Kosovo and Turkey were also involved. More information about the project is available at: https://seemediapartnership.cji.ro

The Project was co-financed by the European Commission, the Civil Society Facility, Media Freedom and Accountability Programme, Europe Aid/134613/C/ACT/MULTI
AMI concludes project on media and youth
SEE ProjectAMI just concluded the project "Public vis-a-vis TV: Current challenges," implemented during 2017, with the financial support of the regulator, the Audiovisual Media Authority. The project included two components. The first component consisted in organization of four forums in the universities of Tirana, Elbasan, Shkodra, and Durres. The forums featured well-known journalists as guest speakers, who discussed with students the main problems in journalism today, the different factors that affect media production, and the difficulties and challenges of journalism at the current stage.

The second component of the project aimed to collect the opinions and attitudes of youth vis-a-vis audiovisual media, as well as internet and social media, and learn more about their consumption habits. For this purpose a survey with a sample of 500 persons aged 16-18 was conducted in Tirana. The survey revealed that traditional media are no longer that important for this age group, who would rather prefer spending time on Internet and social networks.

According to the survey, the main reason for following traditional media was related to entertainment, rather than information, while the most favorite programs were movies and musical programs. Youth tended to be skeptical vis-a-vis media credibility, while books and schools and teachers remained the most trusted sources of information. The survey findings were presented at a roundtable event organized on December 13. The full survey is available in Albanian here.
Report on Albanian media and Council of Europe standards launched
RaportiAlbanian Media Institute launched the report "Albanian media scene vs. European Standards" on April 24 in Tirana. The report, supported financially by the Embassy of the Netherlands, is an assessment of the media situation in the country, following the Council of Europe's Indicators for media in a democracy. The study concludes that only a few of the 27 principles have been consistently implemented in Albania. While Albanian legislation has been mostly harmonized to European regulation, the enforcement of the principles does not always measure up to their standards, due to incomplete or inconsistent legal regulation, weakness of institutions that enforce them, as well as the influence of other economic or political actors, along with the economic and social status of journalists.

Dewi van de Weerd, Ambassador of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in Albania stressed the importance of free media in a democracy and the support that the Netherlands provides to civil society and free media. "Journalists should be able to speak their minds freely and have time and space to investigate into stories that are important to the public," she states in the foreword to the study. During the meeting she said that such studies could be periodical, highlighting the importance of regular assessment of media freedom in the country.

Remzi Lani, director of the Albanian Media Institute, said that Albania lacks a cohesive media strategy or policy and such reports could be useful in adopting a more research-based policy approach for overall approach to media. The report's main findings were introduced by Ilda Londo, researcher at Albanian Media Institute. The contributors to the study also intervened, including Dorian Matlija from Respublica, Aleksandër Çipa from Union of Albanian Journalists, Aleksandra Bogdani from BIRN Albania, Rrapo Zguri from Department of Journalism at University of Tirana, and Blendi Salaj from Media Council.

Read the Report in English
Read the Report in Albanian
Kick-off of new project on media labour relations and media professionalism
KE ProjectRepresentatives of local media organizations, media associations, journalists, and civil society activists gathered on April 13 in Tirana in the kick-off event of the project "Towards improved labour relations and professionalism in the Albanian media." The project will be implemented by the Albanian Media Institute and International Federation of Journalists, with the support of the European Union. The Project objective is to support media organizations and professional journalist associations' capacities to strengthen professional standards, ethics, and promote and protect the right to freedom of expression. In addition, the project aims to support CSO initiatives to advocate for improved labor standards and promote laws, standards, and practices that protect freedom of opinion and expression.

During the event AMI representatives presented the project objectives, activities, and target groups, providing information that was of interest to the stakeholders present in the meeting. Jonas Sumares, attache at the Political, Economic, and Information Section of the Delegation of the European Union to Albania, gave an overview of the main trends and priorities in EU assistance to Albania and particularly to the media section. The project initiated will combine components that map situation of labour relations and assess the needs and capacities of media associations, with components that aim to raise capacities of journalist associations based on their needs. In addition, the project foresees the launching of two rounds of sub-granting schemes for journalist associations and media organizations, which is supposed to provide support for the strengthening and further professionalization of these associations and organizations and media in general. The participants in the event welcomed the idea of such an initiative, stressing that the attempt to have an all-encompassing project in terms of monitoring, research, and training, is always needed in the Albanian media context. They also stressed the importance of assisting small local organizations, especially in small cities, which face greater isolation and pressure compared to larger cities. The project is funded by European Union.
One third of journalists work without contracts
RaportiAccording to a recent survey of the Albanian Media Institute, a third of journalists and media employees currently do not have a work contract, while only 24% of the respondents said that they had had a contract during their career in the media. Asked whether they had been fired from their job, 32% said that it had happened, mainly due to media shutting down or the restructure of the newsroom, but in many cases they were also fired without any motivation.

The survey identified again long-standing problems with the media situation in Albania, such as problems with work contracts, their fictivity, the violation of labour rights, problems with salaries, etc.

The level of salaries and their irregular disbursement were other problems the journalists identified. 55% of the respondents said that the salary they received was lower than the average salary of the public sector and 59% said that there are delays in disbursement of the salary occasionally or even all the time, sometimes for several months in a row. 45% of respondents stated that there were fines applied wihtin the newsroom, for professional and disciplinary reasons, lowering even more the financial awards for journalists. Similarly, 67% of the respondents said that it was not a practive in their media to have bonus payments or payment for overtime work.

Respecting the labour conditions was also another problem, as 54% of respondents said that labour conditions are violated regularly or ocasionally by the employers. According to the survey, the daily work hours are violated for 68% of the respondents, while there are also violations for weekly and annual holidays, too.

58% of respondents said that the workload has increased compared to two years ago. In general 42% of respondents said that they thought the employment situation for journalists had not changed compared to two years ago, while for 32% of them the situation has further deteriorated.

The survey is part of a project the Albanian Media Institute is implementing with the International Federation of Journalists, with the support of the European Union.

Read the Report in Albanian