In 1998, it was approved the Law no. 8410 dated 30.09.1998 “On public and private Radio and Television in the Republic of Albania” (hereinafter referred to as the “Law 8410”), which lead the way to the rise of competition between public and private companies in the field of radio and television thereby eliminating the possibility of the state to become the sole controller of the said field of activity. Harmonization of the law with new technologies, market realities as well as with the fulfillment of obligations that Albania has faced due to the signing of the Stabilization and Association Agreement (“SAA”) with the European Union (“EU”), has given a high priority to the initiation of a comprehensive legal reform.
The Albanian parliament, in July 1999, decided and resolved on the establishment of the National Council of Radio and Television (NCRT), which started its activity as an independent body whose main mission was the regulation, licensing and supervision of radio and television activity in the Republic of Albania.
The legal framework governing the audiovisual broadcasting and digital broadcasting in the Republic of Albania until the adoption of the Law no. 97/2013 “On the audiovisual media in the Republic of Albania” (hereinafter referred to as the “Media Law”) consisted of the following two separate laws:
– Law no. 8410, dated 30.09.1998 “On the Radio and Television in the Republic of Albania”; and
– Law no. 9742 dated 28.05.2007 “On Digital Broadcasting in the Republic of Albania” (hereinafter referred to as the “Digital Broadcasting Law”).
The necessity to amend the legislation in the audiovisual broadcasting field arose as a result of the developments of electronic media services itself, technological developments in the field of electronic communications and information society as well as to fulfill obligation of the Republic of Albania related to the harmonization of Albanian legislation in the audiovisual broadcasting field with the European legislation and particularly the obligations arising from the SAA.
Until June 2007, the Law 8410 constituted the main and sole basis for the regulation of the media sector in Albania. Nonetheless, the said legislation did not respond to the rapid technological, economic, social and cultural development of the audiovisual sector, which in general occurs faster than the change of the regulatory frameworks. Law no. 8410 did not provide for the possibility of programs broadcasting through the digital technology, becoming to some extent a kind of obstacle to the development of such sector.
In order to fill in the abovementioned legal gap, the Albanian Parliament approved the Digital Broadcasting Law, having as object and purpose the determination of a regulatory framework for the introduction of digital broadcasting, thus giving the opportunity to the network and programs operators (multiplexes) to construct the networks and to broadcast through a digital way.
The Media Law regulates the activity of audiovisual media and their supporting services, based on the principle of technological neutrality in the Republic of Albania.
According to article 6 of the above law, the Audiovisual Media Authority (hereinafter referred to as “AMA”) is the regulatory authority in the field of audio and audiovisual broadcasting services and other supporting services in the Republic of Albania.
The structure of AMA is constituted by the Chairman, the Vice Chairman and 5 members.