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Commissioner urges Albania’s Parliament to review bills which restrict freedom of expression

Statement
Strasbourg 17/12/2019
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Commissioner urges Albania’s Parliament to review bills which restrict freedom of expression

“ I am deeply concerned to learn that this week the Albanian Parliament pursued the examination of two draft laws, known as the 'Anti-Defamation Package' ", said today the Commissioner in a statement. “These laws are in need of urgent improvement. Several provisions are indeed not compatible with international and European human rights standards which protect freedom of expression and freedom of the media.

I am particularly concerned that discretionary powers given to regulatory bodies, the possibility to impose excessive fines and to block media websites without a court order, as well as the introduction of state regulation of online media, may deal a strong blow to freedom of expression and media freedom in the country. It is of the utmost importance to ensure that the Internet remains an open and public forum and that self-regulation by the media, including online media, prevails.

I therefore urge members of the Parliament of Albania to review the current drafts and bring them in line with the case law of the European Court of Human Rights and Council of Europe standards.”