Threats against media organisation’s made by public officials, BIRN Albania, 24/10/2023

    Country AL
    Name and Surname BIRN Albania
    Gender Group BIRN Albania
    Date 24/10/2023
    City / Location Tirana
    Type of incident Threats against media outlets and organizations
    By whom By public officials
    Type of media online
    Media name BIRN Albania
    Was journalist`s association informed Yes

    Recently, BIRN Albania published an article on October 23, 2023, detailing the active investigation by the Special Prosecution against Corruption and Organized Crime (SPAK) into allegations of corruption involving Albania’s former Prime Minister, Sali Berisha, and his son-in-law, Jamarbër Malltezi. The article cites the documents of the SPAK which accuses Malltezi of turning a small inheritance of land into a multi-million-euro fortune through secretive contracts and favorable political decisions.

    In response, Berisha swiftly condemned the publication in a press conference on October 24, accusing BIRN Albania of slander and tarnishing their moral standing. This marks yet another instance in Berisha’s ongoing campaign against the outlet. Previously in July 2023, he accused BIRN Albania and BalkanInsight of collaborating with the government and being financed by George Soros to undermine the opposition in Albania.

    BIRN Albania is also facing discrediting campaigns from anonymous online portals, such as, following the publication of their analysis “Justice or Revenge? Albania’s Former Strongman Battles Corruption Charges.” These portals have baselessly accused BIRN Albania of political bias and conspiring with the opposition (article).

    This double-edged assault puts BIRN Albania in a precarious position, caught between accusations of favoring the government on one hand and the opposition on the other. These attacks underscore the difficult landscape that independent media must navigate, especially when reporting on sensitive issues of corruption and abuse of power. The intimidation and discreditation of independent media constitute a serious concern, undermining the credibility of the journalistic landscape.

    Update on the case:

    Ongoing and concerning political attacks against the Balkan Investigative Reporting Network (BIRN) in Albania, a notable and independent investigative media outlet

    Then again in a coordinated manner, On November 13, 2023, the lawyer of Jamarber Malltezi, son-in-law of Sali Berisha, sent a lengthy response to all media in Albania concerning the articles by BIRN. The response accused BIRN and of their “now familiar tradition of slandering Sali Berisha and his family.” The statement alleged that the articles contained insinuations, distortions, and manipulations not befitting professional journalists, but instead seemed to align with the appetite of their speculative sponsor (referring to Edi Rama). This was then subsequently published in media close to Berisha and his family, undermining the reputation and credibility of BIRN Albania through discrediting coordinated campaigns.