SafeJournalists: Concerns Over Recent Events Impacting Journalists in Albania

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    In light of recent events targeting journalists in Albania, the SafeJournalists Network feels compelled to voice concerns and seek collective attention toward the worrisome incidents involving Armand Bajrami (A2CNN), Gjergj Zefi (Pamfleti) and Parid Dado (Vizion Plus). 

    The physical attack against Gjergj Zefi, the owner of the Pamfleti portal, on the public streets of Tirana on October 3rd, 2023, has raised concern regarding the security of journalists in Albania. We appreciate the immediate response by the Police and the initiation of an investigation into this act of violence. Nonetheless, the SafeJournalists Network urges for the inquiry to be not only swift but also thorough and transparent, ensuring that the perpetrators are brought to justice. 

    The incident involving Parid Dado, a cameraman from Vizion Plus, and Flamur Noka, a prominent member of the Democratic Party of Albania, during a parliamentary session on October 5th, 2023, can not be underestimated. The act of physical aggression against a media worker raises concerns about the safety and respect accorded to journalists in active political spaces. While we acknowledge the apology from Mr. Noka and the intervention by the Speaker of the Parliament, Lindita Nikolla, it’s essential that this incident prompts a broader reflection on cultivating a zero-tolerance culture towards any form of intimidation or attacks on journalists, particularly by politicians and public figures.

    Lastly, the unauthorized use of Armand Bajrami’s personal data, along with his wife, Esiona Konomi on various occasions in September and October 2023, highlights existing digital vulnerabilities faced by journalists. This incident underscores the need for a thoughtful look into enhancing digital safeguards and implementing steadfast cybersecurity protocols for the journalistic community. SafeJournalists Network urges the relevant authorities to investigate this case meticulously to ensure accountability and prevent the recurrence of such digital infringements in the future.

    Blerjana Bino, SafeJournalists Network researcher in Albania, remarks, “It is paramount that these events ignite not only conversations but also tangible actions, facilitating an environment where journalists can traverse through physical, political, and digital arenas, free from the threats of intimidation and attacks.”

    The SafeJournalists network, which represents more than 8,200 media professionals in the Western Balkans, strongly condemns the latest attacks on journalists in Albania and calls on the relevant institutions to react as soon as possible and show that attacks on journalists will not be tolerated.

    The SafeJournalists network will inform relevant national and international stakeholders about these cases.

     

    Every attack on journalists touches upon public interest, democracy, and the rights of all citizens.

    Pristina – Skopje – Sarajevo – Zagreb – Belgrade – Podgorica – Tirana, October 10, 2023

     

    Association of Journalists of Kosovo

    Association of Journalists of Macedonia

    BH Journalists Association

    Croatian Journalists’ Association

    Independent Journalists Association of Serbia

    Trade Union of Media of Montenegro