TIRANA, Albania -- The Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe on Monday urged authorities in Albania to further amend a draft law on a new registration system for online media.
Harlem Desir, the OSCE's media freedom representative, urged the Albanian Parliament to make more amendments to the new legislation, adding that “much will also depend on the implementation.”
He stressed that the regulatory agency must be fully independent and free of political interference.
Last year’s draft law on online media and the government’s threat to impose heavy fines on unregistered electronic media providers were criticized by the OSCE and local media organizations.
Desire said that the law must not be interpreted as a right of censorship or restriction of freedom of expression.
The possibility of blocking access to online content will now be limited to three areas, Desir said: child pornography, promotion of terrorist acts and breaches of national security.
He also has recommended several additional modifications “to clarify safeguards to freedom of expression and avoid any risk of undue restrictions or sanctions on electronic media providers.”
Albania’s post-communist media outlets have until now generally been used or exploited by the governing political party.