Other threats to journalists, Ambrozia Meta, 30/03/2022, Tirana

    Country AL
    Name and Surname Ambroiza Meta
    Gender Female
    Date 30/03/2022
    City / Location Tirana
    Type of incident Other threats to journalists
    By whom By public officials
    Name of the perpetrator Edi Rama, Prime Minister
    Type of media Radio and television online
    Media name Syri Al
    Source https://www.mapmf.org/alert/24795
    Was journalist`s association informed Yes

    On 30 March 2022, during an impromptu press conference Prime Minister Edi Rama told a journalist that she needed “re-education” and that he would refuse to take any questions from her for 60 days due to what he considered to be unprofessional behaviour. The exchange happened as the PM spoke to journalists outside the headquarters of the Socialist Party of Albania. Ambrioza Meta, journalist of Syri.net TV, asked several questions to the PM on matters of public interest – the arrest of a Socialist party MP and a corruption case linked to incinerators in Albania. The PM initially answered her question. As she insisted on a particular question, he accused her of interrupting him and not respecting the rules of the press conference, saying that she should be “ashamed”. He then told her in front of multiple other journalists that he would refuse to answer her questions for two months.

    At another press conference outside the Socialist Party on April 6, Meta attempted to ask a question to Rama. He told her to leave and that she was obliged to give the microphone to another colleague. The PM repeated that she needed “re-education”. Ambrioza told Safe Journalists Albania: “I am worried that this ‘re-education’ threat to journalists is becoming a normal attitude of the Prime Minister”. She had rejected the accusation of bullying, saying that she was simply doing her job and asking challenging questions on a matter of public interest. Safe Journalist Albania asked the government’s Media and Information Agency if there was a formal decision taken against Meta and Syri.TV not to join the PM’s press conferences. It was informed there was no formal notice from the Prime Minister Office, but that it was a personal decision by the PM against Meta over what he considered to be a breach of ethical journalism.

    Journalists in Albania criticised what they saw as an attempt by the PM to decide what questions and topics he could be asked about. Journalists in Albania work in a difficult climate for accessing information from government sources. The government communicates with journalists via WhatsApp groups instead of using official channels. Reporters working for independent media are regularly discriminated against when seeking information or comment from ministers. Journalists viewed as representing “opposition” outlets are denied accreditation or barred from asking questions at press conferences. Those who seek comment from officials in person sometimes face hostility and obstruction.