Tirana Mayor Erion Veliaj’s Public Remarks and Accusations Against Journalists and Media Analysts

Source/Author: SJ
Source/Photo: https://www.gazetatema.net/politika/me-gjykoni-nga-reputacioni-i-armiqve-qe-kam-bere-veliaj-ironizon-banake-i437917

On 30th April 2024, during a meeting of the Tirana City Council, Mayor Erion Veliaj made a series of inflammatory remarks directed at analysts from opposition television channels. In response to accusations against him, Veliaj referred to the analysts as “scoundrels” and “scum,” alleging that their attacks were motivated not by public concern but by personal interests, specifically the denial of building permits by the Tirana Municipality. On the same day in the morning, Mayor Veliaj’s communications office released a notice to the media, clarifying a WhatsApp post by Veliaj. The post included a quote from Roosevelt: “Judge me by the enemies I have made,” and featured a photo collage of journalists, television analysts, media administrators, and chief editors, whom Veliaj now considers enemies.

The remarks were made on the same day Mayor Veliaj appeared before the Special Anti-Corruption Prosecution concerning investigations into the Tirana incinerator.

Mayor Erion Veliaj’s inflammatory remarks against media analysts at the Tirana City Council meeting on April 30, 2024, pose significant implications for media freedom and public trust. Veliaj, who is known for avoiding press conferences, delivering pre-packaged materials to the media, and previously engaging in anti-media rhetoric and verbal attacks, has intensified concerns by labeling journalists and analysts as enemies. The incident also raises legal and ethical concerns about the potential misuse of public office to intimidate critics or provide favors to those who support him.