Attack on media outlets and organisations, 20/07/2023, Tirana

    Country AL
    Name and Surname Albiona Cibukaj, Citizen Channel
    Gender Female
    Date 20/07/2023
    City / Location Tirana
    Type of incident Attacks on media outlets and organizations
    By whom By public officials
    Type of media online
    Media name Citizens Channel
    Was journalist`s association informed Yes

    On July 20, 2023, the Tirana Municipal Council held its last meeting before the summer recess, in which the medium-term budget plan for 2024-2026 was among the key topics discussed and approved.

    According to Article 58 of the regulations for the organization and functioning of the Tirana Municipal Council, media outlets have a clear right to attend council meetings. However, this right was seemingly violated as representatives from the Citizens Channel, a local media outlet, were prevented from covering the meeting. Despite citing the aforementioned regulation, reporter Arboja Cibuku and her team were denied access by several Tirana Municipality officials. The officials justified this decision by claiming that the meeting was professionally directed and could be followed online.

    Compounding this issue, the online streaming of the meeting experienced technical problems. The audio feed was repeatedly interrupted, particularly following the conclusion of the Mayor of Tirana, Erion Veliaj’s speech.

    This case presents a serious concern for the principles of media freedom and transparency of government institutions. Denying media representatives their legal right to cover public meetings not only infringes upon press freedom but also impairs the public’s right to information. The technical issues with the online stream further exacerbated the situation, as it limited the alternative means of public scrutiny.

    We will continue to monitor this situation closely and advocate for the rights of media personnel and public access to information in Albania.