European official calls Albanian Parliament to review bills which restrict freedom of expression

The Commissioner for human rights of the council of Europe expressed concerns over the efforts made by the government of Albania to introduce two laws that would undermine free expression and media freedom. The Commissioner stated that several provisions are not compatible with international and European human rights standards which protect freedom of expression and freedom of the media, and being “particularly concerned that discretionary powers given to regulatory bodies, the possibility to impose excessive fines and to block media websites without a court order, as well as the introduction of state regulation of online media, may deal a strong blow to freedom of expression and media freedom in the country. It is of the utmost importance to ensure that the Internet remains an open and public forum and that self-regulation by the media, including online media, prevails.”