Strengthening Journalistic Safety through Engaged Stakeholder Collaboration

Strengthening Journalistic Safety through Engaged Stakeholder Collaboration

Strengthening Journalistic Safety through Engaged Stakeholder Collaboration

In Albania, despite constitutional guarantees of media freedom and freedom of expression, media freedom has declined due to the influence of powerful economic, political, and organized crime actors. The rapid growth of media outlets, particularly online, has not improved the quality of content. Compliance with ethical standards, copyright rules, and professionalism is lacking, and the safety of journalists is threatened, undermining journalistic integrity and democracy.

State institutions’ response to these challenges has been insufficient. Whereas police registration of threats is satisfactory, the follow-up is slow and ineffective, especially in online cases. There is no reliable data collection on threats and attacks against journalists, hampering efforts to assess the problem’s extent. In addition, journalists in Albania lack effective reporting mechanisms for hate speech and threats. Even though there is an existing emergency hotline, journalists are not entitled to free legal aid or exemption from judicial fees.

Journalists are increasingly exposed to digital security threats, including hacking, phishing, and surveillance. Journalists in online media are particularly vulnerable due to informal employment, leading to difficulties in protecting intellectual property and building professional profiles. Recent data leaks and cyberattacks have raised concerns about the safety and privacy of journalists and sources. There is a growing need for journalists to prioritize digital security and for media organizations to implement better cybersecurity measures.

In response to the above mentioned challenges, the Center Science and Innovation for Development (SCiDEV) in cooperation with Citizen Channel (CC) and Free Press Unlimited (FPU), with the support of the Embassy of the Kingdom of Netherlands in Albania, are implementing the project “Strengthening Journalistic Safety through Engaged Stakeholder Collaboration and Journalists’ Capacity Development in Albania”. Our project will address the problem of declining media freedom and journalist safety in Albania by prioritizing the engagement of stakeholders (state and non-state actors) in the safety of journalists.

It strives to foster a secure and supportive environment for journalists in Albania, where they can carry out their work without facing threats, violence, or intimidation. Furthermore, by emphasizing the crucial role of media as a pillar of democracy, the project promotes accountability, transparency, and informed public discourse.

Implemented from December 2023 to December 2025, the geographical focus for the project lies in the cities of Korça, Elbasan, Tirana, Shkodra, Durres, Kukes, and Bulqiza.

Key Project Activities include:

  • Stakeholder Engagement and Safety Mechanism: The project will engage stakeholders to establish a mechanism ensuring journalist safety.
  • Awareness Campaign and Ethical Reporting: An awareness campaign will be conducted to promote ethical reporting practices.
  • Capacity Development for Journalists: Training and mentoring programs will be implemented to enhance digital security, ethical reporting, and safe field reporting for local and young journalists.

Project Results:

  • Enhanced Safety for Journalists: Collaboration with stakeholders aims to directly improve the safety environment for journalists.
  • Strengthened Institutional Mechanisms: The project seeks to improve reporting tools, investigation protocols, and data collection mechanisms related to journalists’ safety and working conditions.
  • Increased Public Awareness and Support: Public awareness campaigns will highlight challenges faced by journalists, building trust in media and pressuring institutions to prioritize journalist safety.
  • Professional Development for Journalists: Training and mentoring initiatives will enhance the professional capabilities of journalists, promoting ethical standards and higher-quality reporting.

In conclusion, through the planned interventions, and collaboration with partners and stakeholders, this project seeks to mitigate uninvestigated attacks on journalists, diminish impunity, and enhance reporting protocols in Albania. Ultimately, it will empower journalists with improved professional capabilities to work freely and produce higher-quality content, while fostering public support for media freedom and journalist protection.

Project Partners

Center Science and Innovation for Development (SCiDEV), Albania

Citizen Channel (CC), Albania

Free Press Unlimited (FPU), Netherlands

Supported by:

Embassy of the Kingdom of Netherlands in Albania

Timeframe:

1 December 2023-1 December 2025

Budget:

EUR 127,885