With the rise of the internet, the online Albanian Media content has increased exponentially giving rise to various challenges to freedom of expression. The number of cases in local courts against online defamation has recently increased. Recognising the need for clarifying key questions regarding the extent and limits of freedom of expression online, two training workshops entitled, “Freedom of expression online and protection of reputation using ECtHR standards” were organised for Albanian legal professionals.
The training discussed with the participants the importance of freedom of expression in the online media and why it must be protected just like freedom of expression offline, taking into account the nature of the internet, its ubiquity and speed.
During the two-day training workshops, Albanian lawyers, judges and prosecutors, discussed the standards of the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) referring to recent ECtHR case-law concerning the protection of reputation with a focus on the online media. Participants at the training were provided with the first three series of bulletins of ECtHR case updates in Albanian developed by JUFREX regional action.
Through the use of a moot court technique, participants applied the European standards during a role play of an anonymised case of ECtHR, discussing and comparing with the support of the trainers, their arguments and decisions in light of the actual ECtHR decisions.
The training activities were organised by the Bar Association and the School of Magistrates with the support of the Freedom of Expression and Freedom of the Media in Albania (JUFREX), part of the joint Council of Europe and European Union Horizontal Facility II programme.