William Stone

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
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.