SafeJournalists: Coordinated Efforts Against Citizen Channel in Albania Must Stop

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    photo: canva

    The SafeJournalists Network is troubled by the coordinated efforts to undermine Citizens Channel, a non-profit and independent media outlet in Albania. Recent actions to report and remove Citizen Channel’s content from their Facebook page under the guise of violations such as spam or breaking Facebook’s rules represent a direct threat to independent and critical journalism and the right of citizens to quality information. 

    These actions followed Citizens Channel’s reporting on issues of public interest, including the construction of the National Theater and the granting of permits for skyscraper constructions by the municipality of Tirana. The articles exposed how construction companies are taking and occupying public land without permission taxes. Other content removed refers to reporting about abuse of natural resources and the resistance of the communities in Thirre (Mirdita) and Zall Gjocak (Mat) against destruction of nature.

    It’s distressing to observe a ‘digital army’ orchestrating a campaign against Citizen Channel, targeting articles dating back to 2021, with the apparent goal of shutting down their platform thus directly undermining their digital presence, outreach and relations to their audiences.

    These attacks not only infringe on Citizens Channel’s rights to report and inform but also intimidate other media entities and journalists, potentially stifling investigative journalism and critical reporting in Albania. 

    We call on authorities and online platforms to take immediate and decisive action to protect Citizens Channel and ensure the integrity and safety of journalistic content online. We urge Facebook to promptly review the actions taken against Citizens Channel’s content. Any content that was unjustly removed should be reinstated. 

    The SafeJournalists Network stands in solidarity with Citizens Channel and all media entities that face similar threats. We are committed to advocating for a digital landscape where journalistic content is respected and protected. It is imperative that all stakeholders stand in solidarity with Citizens Channel and the broader journalistic community in Albania to safeguard media freedom and the right to information.

     

    The SafeJournalists Network will continue to closely monitor this situation and advocate for the rights and safety of journalists in Albania and beyond. 

    SafeJournalists Network will inform relevant national and international stakeholders about this case.

     

    Belgrade – Podgorica – Pristina – Sarajevo – Skopje – Zagreb– April 4, 2024

    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