The journalists’ associations from the Western Balkan countries, with the support of the European Commission, have set up a joint platform Safejournalists.net to monitor changes in their countries’ legislation and practice and to engage in various advocacy activities aimed at advancing political, legislative, and institutional environment in which the journalists and media work. Starting from 2020, the members of the platform monitor the situation in seven countries (Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, North Macedonia, Montenegro, Kosovo, and Serbia). Every year, the assessment of the situation is conducted on the basis of standardized methods for data collection and analysis, while the focus of the advocacy research is on the changes in both the traditional and online media environment in the Western Balkans.
The research methodology is composed of three groups of indicators developed based on a systematic analysis of various guidelines produced by relevant international organizations. In the course of the previous years, the originally developed qualitative indicators have been refined to address the distinctive socio-political context in the Western Balkans region and to reflect the specific needs and interests of the journalists in the seven countries. At the national level, the advocacy research is conducted by national researchers who carry out the data collection and draft the narrative reports, which were then reviewed by local media experts and by the lead researcher. In Albania, the Safe Journalists Network nominated Blerjana Bino as the national researcher and Kristina Voko as the media expert, and Blerina Fani as the legal expert to review the report.
The report Indicators on the Level of Media Freedom and Journalists’ Safety in Albania 2021 published by the Safe Journalists Network this June, is the second one that monitors the changes in Albanian legislation and practice in regards to media freedom and safety of journalists to engage in various advocacy activities aimed at advancing political, legislative, and institutional environment in which the journalists and media work. This publication was produced with the financial support of the European Union and Balkan Trust for Democracy, a project of the German Marshall Fund of the United States and the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The first report was published in 2021 and can be found here.
To reflect on the findings of the Safe Journalists Report 2021 for Albania, SCiDEV hosted an event that brought together media experts, journalists, representatives of civil society and projects focused on media. In addition, representatives of the Association of Journalists of Kosovo (AGK) shared their experiences in collective action, self-organization, and advocacy for media freedom and the safety of journalists in Kosovo. Blerjana Bino presented the key findings of the report and highlighted recommendations particularly for strengthening collective action, advocacy and networking. Kristina Voko, BIRN Albania, reflected on the systemic challenges to the media freedom in Albania, whereas Koloreto Cukali, Albanian Media Council, focused more on what can be done to improve the situation, particularly in terms of potential legal actions on conflict of interest and concentration of ownership. Meanwhile, Valbona Sulce underlined the efforts to set up networks of journalists, particularly women in the media, in Albania. Ada Heqimi, UK Embassy, shared the lessons learned from supporting an informal network of young journalists and the development of safety protocol in cases of violations.
Read the full report Indicators on the Level of Media Freedom and Journalists’ Safety in Albania 2021