"Today is an important step for media self-regulation and media freedom in Albania. It is very timely and encouraging to see many media outlets in the room joining forces to launch a media coalition that will strengthen the Albanian Media Council", said Adeline Hulin from UNESCO in her opening speech.
On 12 February 2020, 19 media outlets signed a Memorandum of Understanding setting the basis of the restructuring of the existing Albanian Media Council. The Council until now composed of individual journalists is now composed of the representatives of the media who have now joined the coalition. It will elect its board in charge of handling citizens’ complaints about potential breach of the journalistic code of ethics.
Self-regulation is the way for journalists to gain ownership of their professional standards by themselves, without the involvement of governments, business, political parties, or any other influence
The event took place at the Europe House in Tirana, within the framework of the UNESCO EU-funded Project Building Trust in Media in South East Europe and Turkey – Phase 2 and in presence of several key international stakeholders, including EU Ambassador Soreca, Dutch Ambassador Guusje Korthals Altes, and the Deputy Head of Council of Europe Office in Tirana.
"The fact that you are jointly relaunching the discussion around self-regulation is very much welcome by the EU. It is a strong signal. Self-regulation is the way for journalists to gain ownership of their professional standards by themselves, without the involvement of governments, business, political parties, or any other influence", said EU Ambassador Soreca in his opening speech.
While there is an ongoing governmental initiative to amend the media services legislation, the reinforcement of media self-regulation is a sound alternative to reinforce respect for media ethical standards in the country.
"The setting up of this coalition is a fresh start and perspective, not only on self-regulation but for media freedom and freedom of speech in Albania. We hope that more media outlets will join us and understand the benefits of a functioning self-regulatory mechanism in the country", said Koloreto Cukali, Chairman of the Albanian Media Council.
While wishing them best success in this important endeavour, Ms Hulin highlighted that UNESCO will continue supporting the Council in its new role, notably thanks to the project Building Trust in Media in South East Europe - Phase 2, which provides direct support to media councils in the region. The Project will also reinforce Media Information Literacy (MIL) in the region to empower citizens, in particular the youth of the region, to think critically about the information they receive through media, especially, social media.
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