SCiDEV has taken note of the Albanian Government’s initiation of the consultation process for the Roadmap for the Rule of Law – Chapter 23, “Judiciary and Fundamental Rights” in October 2023. This significant political and strategic document outlines the key measures anticipated in response to the European Commission’s screening report on Albania, specifically addressing Chapter 23, which focuses on “Judiciary and Fundamental Rights.”  SCiDEV observed with interest the roadmap’s specific focus on the safety of journalists, as highlighted in section III.G on “Freedom of Expression, Media Freedom, and Pluralism.” SCiDEV provided comments to the document in writing as instructed in the notification of consultation in the Electronic Registry for Notification and Public Consultations.

SCiDEV welcomed the inclusion in the roadmap of the objective: “Albania must take measures to protect the safety of journalists and media workers from intimidation and threats,” and in particular, the inclusion in the strategic measures of some of the recommendations we have been advocating for such as:

  • The State Police designates contact points within its structure responsible for handling attacks on journalists by 2024 and provides public information on such cases from 2024 onwards.
  • The General Prosecutor’s Office publishes case-by-case the results of investigations into the cases of journalists from 2024 onwards.
  • The High Judicial Council (HCJ) collects and generates data on cases involving journalists from 2023 onwards.

SCiDEV provided detailed comments and recommendations to the III.G on “Freedom of Expression, Media Freedom, and Pluralism” of the Roadmap that can be accessed in English here and in Albanian here.

In this line, also, on 2 November 2023, which marks the International Day to End Impunity for Crimes Against Journalists, SCiDEV called for an end to the vicious circle of impunity and demanded zero tolerance for intimidation, threats, harassment, and any other form of attack and oppression against journalists in their line of duty, both in the digital and physical worlds. SCiDEV urges the establishment of a comprehensive national framework dedicated to ensuring the #safety of journalists, addressing awareness, prevention, protection, and prosecution, with particular attention to the unique vulnerabilities of women journalists and the need for robust protective measures for journalists in the #digital realm facing the growing menace of #cyberthreats and #surveillance.

In addition, SCiDEV alerted the Safe Journalists Network on this development and provided the necessary information for the joint announcement of the Network—the Safe Journalists Statement in English and Albanian.

We will continue to monitor the developments in this area and cooperate with partners to enhance safety of journalists and media freedom in Albania.