On the constitution of the Special Parliamentary Committee “To coordinate and oversee all institutional actions to combat disinformation and other forms of foreign interference in the country’s democratic processes” in Albania

0
37
Source/Author: SJ
Source/Photo: SJ

The constitution of the Special Parliamentary Committee “To coordinate and oversee all institutional actions to combat disinformation and other forms of foreign interference in the country’s democratic processes” in Albania 

On June 6th, the Albanian Assembly voted with only the presence of the governing majority (SP) “On the composition of the Special Committee of the Assembly for coordinating and supervising all institutional actions to fight disinformation and other forms of foreign interference in democratic processes of the country”. 

Earlier in June, SJN reiterated its stance, expressed in the open letter dated April 9, 2024. SJN urges the Assembly to ensure that this committee operates transparently, with clear, public reporting on its activities and decisions, and that the committee actively includes a diverse range of stakeholders in its consultations and decision-making processes. SJN argues that effective combating of disinformation requires input from all sectors of society and broad-based consultation. SJN urged the committee to engage in comprehensive consultations with all relevant stakeholders to develop strategies and policies that are balanced and effective. It is essential that the committee operates in a non-partisan manner, ensuring that its actions are not influenced by political biases. 

The Committee convened its inaugural meeting on June 26th, notably without opposition participation. Subsequently, it issued a public call for expressions of interest, inviting contributions from civil society organizations, research institutes, and academic institutions, both domestic and international, to enrich the Committee’s work with their expertise. It also extended a public invitation for cooperation and participation in public debate roundtables to audiovisual media organs, print media, online media, and electronic media. Also, they issued a public call for cooperation and expertise from the USA, EU, NATO, Council of Europe, other interested countries, and both local and international experts. This effort of engaging with relevant stakeholders through a public call for expression of interest is commendable in an attempt to leverage diverse perspectives in the work of the Committee. However, SJN underlines that their effectiveness will depend on clear objectives and mandate, transparent selection processes, and mechanisms for meaningful consultation and dialogue, and ultimately transparency of the decision-making. SJN urges the Committee to avoid the inadvertent instrumentalization of civil society’s work. We emphasize the importance of ongoing, substantive dialogue with journalists’ community, media organizations, and media freedom organizations. The Committee must develop and publicly share a clear plan of activities, detailing how media and journalists will be systematically consulted and engaged throughout the process.