The Cost of Speech: Violations of Media Freedom in Albania

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The media remains far from free in Albania, Human Rights Watch said in a new report released today. Despite progress since the early 1990s, Human Rights Watch said journalists still risk harassment, physical assaults, and charges of criminal defamation, particularly when they report critically about the activities of public officials.The sixty-page report, "The Cost of Speech: Violations of Media Freedoms in Albania," documents incidents of violence and intimidation of the press, as well as due process and free speech violations in six defamation trials. Human Rights Watch also reports that Albanian government officials misuse state advertising to put financial pressure on media outlets and interfere with their editorial freedom.This report is based on Human Rights Watch interviews with dozens of journalists and media professionals, and analysis of scores of court documents, during a three-week investigation in Albania.