OSCE warns Albania about freedom of expression online

The Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) urged Albania to place freedom of expression in its 2018 draft law for online media. The OSCE’s media freedom representative Harlem Desir expressed concern that the law not be seen as a ‘right of censorship or restriction of freedom of expression’, nor implement excessive restrictions or sanctions on media providers. Albania will take on the presidency of the OSCE in January 2020.

Various human rights and media organisations supported the repeal of two laws, the Law on Audiovisual Media and the Law on Electronic Communications, as did the International Press Institute (IPI). The IPI stated that the laws ‘would introduce mandatory registration requirements for online media and create an administrative body with the power to fine, shut down online media, and block foreign online media – all without a court order’ and indicated concern that the laws were ‘not in line with best practices on self-regulation and would have an adverse impact on freedom of expression in Albania’.