October 11, 2023

11.10.2023 – Incidents in Albania – Concerns Over Media Freedom

In a disturbing incident on 5 October 2023, Flamur Noka, General Secretary of the Democratic Party of Albania, former Minister of the Interior Affairs in Albania and Member of Parliament, physically assaulted cameraman Parid Dado, who works for Vizion Plus (https://www.vizionplus.tv/). The incident occurred during a parliamentary session when Noka struck Dado with the Assembly’s regulation book.

Noka’s rationale for his actions was his belief that Dado was illicitly filming the mobile phones of MPs, particularly his party leader, Sali Ram Berisha. This altercation within the parliamentary setting raised significant concerns about the safety and rights of journalists.

The Speaker of the Parliament, Lindita Nikolla, swiftly intervened and reprimanded Noka, emphasizing the importance of treating the media with the respect they rightfully deserve.

Following the incident, Flamur Noka publicly apologized to the cameraman and shared photos on his Facebook page: www.facebook.com/flamur.noka.3/posts/10161164059591667?ref=embed_post).

While this apology acknowledges the misunderstanding and is a small positive step, it underscores the need for parliamentarians to respect more journalists and media workers, recognize and uphold media freedom, as also ensuring a safe environment for journalists to perform their duties without intimidation or physical harm.

In one additional incident Gjergj Zefi, 52 years old, owner of the webportal Pamfleti (https://pamfleti.net/), and in the past owner of the newspaper Lajmëtari, was physically attacked on 3 October 2023 in Tirana. The attack happened when he was walking in the Bardhok Biba Street in Tirana and after this attack he received medical assistance.

The South East Europe Media Organisation (SEEMO) condemns both incidents and emphasizes the vital role journalists and media play in a democratic society, highlighting the necessity of safeguarding their rights and well-being.

South East Europe Media Organisation (SEEMO) is a regional non-governmental, non-profit network of editors, media executives and leading journalists in Southeast, South, East and Central Europe. SEEMO members are in Albania, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Estonia, Georgia, Greece, Hungary, Kazakhstan, Kosovo, Kyrgyzstan, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Moldova (with the territory of Transdnestria), Montenegro, North Macedonia, Poland, Romania, Russia, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Türkiye / Turkey, Ukraine and Uzbekistan. Austria, Italy, Vatican and San Marino have a special status in SEEMO. SEEMO has over 3000 individual members, and additional media as corporate members.

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