During the opening speech of the OSCE South Eastern Europe Media Forum held in Tirana on Monday, Prime Minister Edi Rama raised eyebrows after calling for regulation and limitations on freedom of expression in online media.
Rama spoke at length about the threats posed by disinformation and defamation on online media, comparing the situation to Nazi propaganda and paedophiles.
“When you try to imagine what the Nazi propaganda machine did to the world with freedom of speech, it’s breathtaking. When you try to assess what the damage occurring in everyday life from sources of evil in this world, terrorism, fundamentalism, paedophilia, diseases of modern society, freedom of reach can reach and touch a lot of human beings,” he said.
He said that politicians have no way of defending themselves against such incidents as “you’re immediately labelled as going against freedom blah blah blah”.
Nodding to the controversial “anti-defamation package” pending in parliament that would bring all online media under state supervision, he said, “I hear clear and loud there is so-called self-regulation, but I am not sure it’s the answer.”
Four media organisations, including Reporters Without Borders (RSF) and the International Press Institute (IPI), joined calls for the EU to intervene in several government measures that they fear will lead to further deterioration of media freedom in the country.
Albania is ranked 84th in the RSF World Press Freedom Index, falling nine places since 2018.
(Alice Taylor | Exit.al)