TIRANA – Faced with intense local and international pressure, governing Socialist Party MPs in Albania at the last minute have backed away from voting down presidential decrees that blocked laws aiming to place controls on the online media, reports BIRN.
Earlier this month, the Monitoring Committee of the Parliamentary Assembly requested an opinion of the Venice Commission concerning the Albanian Law no. 97/2013 ‘on Audiovisual Media Service’.
“The Venice Commission had notified us that it has agreed to check [the laws] using fast-track procedures on 21 March. The vote on the decree of law over audiovisual media will be postponed while we wait for the Venice Commission report”, said the head of the Socialist parliamentary group, Taulant Balla.
European People’s Party members express concern over media freedom in Albania
The controversial laws were first proposed by the Prime Minister Edi Rama in December. Rama claimed that the country needed to discipline the online media, which were allegedly out of control. The law was adopted shortly afterward, while the members of the European People’s Party (EPP) expressed concern over their impact on media freedom in the country. Albanian President Ilir Meta returned the laws to the parliament for reconsideration on January 13.