Self-regulation initiative in Albania

Blendi Salaj, radio talk show host and media personality in Albania, addresses the main problems of media ethics in Albania, the challenges posed to self-regulation, and presents a self-regulatory initiative, the Albanian Media Council.

Salaj points to the flagrant violations of media ethics in contemporary media in Albania, such as disrespect for privacy of minors, and ascribes them to close relation between media and profit, in which the news becomes merely a commodity. "News has become just another way of selling, of getting the largest numbers of clicks" he said.

Although the Code of Ethics exists for a while, he explains the failure to establish a self-regulatory system primarily by the resistance of media owners who maybe see their media as a property that serves only to them, and not to the rules of profession, but also by lack of organising of journalists themselves.  However, in 2015 the Albanian Media Council was established by group of journalists from print, television, radio and online media outlets and lawyers. The aim of the Council is to positively affect implementation of Code of Ethics and to bring more ethics to Albanian media, Salaj noted.  

The Council plans to organise trainings, bring experts from other countries and to offer option to citizen to complain, and contact the media when the norms are violated. They are also planning to publish " white and black lists" of monitored cases, pointing to the best and worst practices during a year period, as a way of pressuring media to abide with the ethics.  Hopefully, the media will realize that it is their duty to respect the public, he concludes.