Safety of journalists, legislation for the media and artificial intelligence in the work of the media in Albania were the three issues in focus of the forum for Media Development, organized by the OSCE presence in Tirana. Part of the forum was also the ceremony of evaluating Faktoje with two prizes from the OSCE, within the competition for fact-checking journalism 2023.
Safety of journalists in Albania, media legislation and the impact of artificial intelligence on the work of journalists were the focus of discussions during the ninth edition of the Media Development Forum, organized by the OSCE Presence in Tirana.
In his speech at this forum, Ambassador Bruce Berton, the Head of the OSCE Presence in Albania, emphasized the freedom of the media.
“In accordance with the principles of the OSCE, which the government is committed to implement as one of our 57 participating countries, Albanian public institutions must create the necessary space for the media to function without obstacles. For this reason, we urge the authorities to keep in mind the balance and carefully weigh the right to disseminate information that is important to the public. “Facts must always be allowed to come to light, even those that call for accountability or reveal abuses or corruption,” he said.
Even the Charge d’Affaires, Ambassador Luigi Soreca, reconfirmed the importance of media freedom in the EU enlargement policy.
He encouraged the Albanian government and public authorities to engage with the media community and stakeholders to address remaining challenges: improving working conditions for journalists, threats to journalists and addressing systemic issues of media ownership.
‘Albania’s EU membership negotiations are an opportunity to make progress in media freedom in Albania.’ , emphasized Soreca.
Adea Pirdeni, Deputy Minister of Justice, Teresa Ribeiro, OSCE Representative for Media Freedom, and Giulia Re, the Head of the Council of Europe Office in Tirana were also part of the forum.
The second session of the Forum was devoted to artificial intelligence and its impact on the media. Discussions focused on the importance of transparency, access to information and fact-checking as a means of fighting corruption and promoting professional journalism.
“I think that artificial intelligence cannot replace the work of a journalist. In some cases, it can even turn into a source of disinformation, because the moment their platform is blocked they need a human to step in to unblock them. For this reason, a phone number is given,” said the executive director of Faktoje, Klodiana Kapo.
The forum concluded with a ceremony to recognize the winners of the annual OSCE Presence fact-checking competition.
- Arbjona Çibuku from Citizens Channel was praised for her article “The Orbital Forest of Tirana”.
- Esmeralda Cenollari Topi from Faktoje.al was praised for the article “Bypass of Vlora, how the investment of 56 million euros ended up in one year”.
- And Ilda Hoxha (Koçi), also from Faktoje.al, for the article: “All roads in Shijak lead to the Park, a bill of 40 million lek for a park that does not exist.”
This year’s competition focused on fact-checking and the use of open-source data, supporting evidence-based journalism, and promoting the use of publicly-sourced data and solid news-gathering skills.
The Media Development Forum is an annual tradition of the OSCE, which serves as a platform for dialogue between the media, state institutions and civil society.