Journalists and media content prepared by them should not be subject to hostile or extremist attacks or assaults.

Yesterday, Audiovisual Media Authority (AMA) was informed about a press release made yesterday the organization OMONIA, Saranda branch, in response to the damaging of memorial plaque dedicated to a figure described as the “Greek ethnic minority solder”.

What is most interesting is that OMONIA’s press release, in addition to calling the reaction of Media Authority, blames and attacks media for this act. In particular, it draws the attention to a historical background content recently aired in Top Channel TV, by the journalist Marin Mema. The journalists and media content prepared by them are not subject to hostile or extremist attacks or assaults by political means or blackmailing.

This is counterproductive. The TV program in concern does not contain any hate or discrimination speech, but it presents some historical document and records about certain characters and events.

The facts and opinions of journalists cannot be challenged with hostility, mixing the problems of public order with the need for freedom of speech and expression. It cannot be done either by making political or dogmatic, out of context evaluations that carry past and present rancor, by calling for attacks against and limitations to the mission and independence of media- basic dimensions for every institution and democratic society.

The attitude of OMONIA unequivocally justifies the absurd case where the authorities of the neighboring country declared the journalist Marin Mema a persona non grata, simply because he published on the television channel, where he works, a reportage on Albanians in Greece, based on researched data and documents.

Therefore, such public position of OMONIA towards the audiovisual media and journalists is for us an inappropriate, inadequate and extreme conduct.

AMA remains committed to preventing and avoiding hate and discrimination speech of any kind in audio and audiovisual broadcasting that promote hostility among peoples or that are instrumental to the treatment of minorities in Albania.

AMA is making an appeal to the Albanian State institutions, in particular to the Ministry of Europe and Foreign Affairs, to use all its legal and institutional instruments in an attempt to ensure and guarantee the free movement of Albanian journalists practicing their profession in favor of freedom of speech and free thinking.

 

Audiovisual Media Authority

 December 5, 2018

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