William Stone The Republic of Albania Human Rights Committee, Freedom of Speech and Press January 2009. Albanian Freedom of Speech and Press Practice and Policy In January of 2004, the Republic of Albania implemented article 19 to its newly founded democratic constitution. Article 19 stated that all Albanians had the freedom of speech, and there for the freedom of press. Many believed this to be a big step for the Albanian government. Merely this article was put into place to regulate the press and not the government. In recent history, Albania has granted the right for the media to express their views freely. In 1999, it was the press, not the government, which did not use selfrestraint. Many of the stories printed were proven to be fabricated or even completely false. It was not until 2001, when the 2001 World Press Freedom Review, review the practice of Albanian media members, they did note that there was a substantial change in the maturity and professional level of the press. There was still work to be done. With the creation of article 19, Albanian has taken a step to insure that everything that is printed in the media is the truth. A big part of enforcing this is making sure journalists are responsible for themselves. This holds the writer, not the publisher, accountable for their actions. Although some feared this would limit the freedom of speech each journalist had, it has proven to make for a more responsible journalist. Another key factor for insuring that the press is fair, was to have each journalist register to a federal organization that could do appropriate background checks on them. In conjunction, each media source are required to hire only journalist that are registered. The Albanian government also felt that it would be very important to make sure each person followed all of these laws, so they established a punishment for breaking these rules. If a person broke one of the media laws, they would be sent to jail. Also, if a person wrought a false article, they would be sentenced to jail as well. Although Albania strongly wants to join the European Union, they still felt it was necessary to apply government standards to the media. This is contradictory to how other countries in the European Union have their media regulated. But Albania is a fairly new democratic country and in order for it to run as well as other countries, needed a slightly different lay out.