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Commission for Disinformation – the government did not consult with the international community

The U.S. Department of State and the European Union have reacted to Faktoje concerning the Albanian government’s proposal to establish a Commission for Disinformation. The government persists in not disclosing the memorandum on which the commission is based, despite international partners’ demands for transparency, thorough consultation, and civil society inclusion. Experts are apprehensive that the necessity to shield against foreign influence and the appointment of political figures to the disinformation commission could be utilized for propaganda and electoral motives.

Jona Plumbi

Since the approval of the establishment of a commission for disinformation in Parliament solely with the votes of the Socialists, concerns from interest groups about lack of consultation and clarity have not diminished.

Faktoje requested to be informed by the Council of Ministers about the Memorandum of Cooperation signed between Albania and the USA, on which this commission is said to be based. The legal deadline for a response from the Council of Ministers has expired and the appeal has been referred to the Commissioner for the Right to Information.

Until this deadlock is resolved, to understand more about our international partners’ expectations for how a state should take action against information manipulation by foreign states, Faktoje asked the U.S. Department of State and the European Union.

What do international partners say

In contrast to Albanian institutions, the U.S. Department of State responded to the information request within 24 hours. When asked about the appropriate approach to combating disinformation in the information ecosystem and highlighting the potential influence of foreign actors through financial support, the U.S. Department of State responded to Faktoje that:

‘The best example is supporting civil society, independent media, and academia, which play a fundamental role in informing and supporting government-led initiatives to counter information manipulation by foreign states.’ – U.S. Department of State to Faktoje

However, the Albanian government chose to establish a parliamentary commission with a one-year term and consisting of members of parliament to ‘address’ the issues of disinformation, media interference, and electoral campaigns.

Faktoje reached out to the European Union to understand if the Albanian government or parliamentarians had consulted with them regarding the establishment of this commission. In the response addressed to Faktoje, EU spokesperson Peter Stano emphasized that:

‘In order to effectively close the space for foreign interference and information manipulation, including disinformation, the media and civil society organizations must be strengthened and involved in this effort, and media freedom and pluralism must be guaranteed.

Any such initiative must fully utilize international expertise, particularly from the EU delegation in Tirana, the European External Action Service, the European Commission, as well as the Venice Commission of the Council of Europe.’

-Peter Stano, spokesperson for foreign affairs and security policies at the European Commission

Inclusion and extensive discussion are also expected by the U.S. Department of State in this process from Albania.

Combating this challenge requires an inclusive dialogue to ensure its effectiveness, and we expect a broad-based discussion with all Albanians.’ – U.S. Department of State to Faktoje.


However, while the start of this process in Albania excluded consultations with civil society and the opposition. As it turns out from the responses given to Faktoje, there have been no consultations even with international partners.

This conclusion is also supported by Afrim Krasniqi, a researcher and director of the Institute of Political Studies.

‘In this case, Albania should have consulted with the United States, the EU, the United Kingdom, and NATO itself. To our knowledge, from the monitoring we have done, there has been no consultation with these institutions, just as there has been no consultation with the security institutions within the country.‘ – Afrim Krasniqi, Institute of Political Studies.


What’s happening with the Commission for Disinformation?

Since its approval in parliament, more than three weeks have passed, with the only new development during this period being the proposals made by the Socialist Party for the members coming from the parliamentary majority.

Members proposed by the Socialist Party


 *Erjon Braçe, Etilda Gjonaj, Mimi Kodheli, Pandeli Majko, Bledi Çuçi, Enslemvera Zake

‘The publication of a transparent document outlining the aims, scope, timeline, expectations, and guarantees that this commission will not infringe upon freedom of expression and the media – or that it will not seek to reintroduce the anti-defamation package rejected by the EU – has not yet occurred. Therefore, the timing and the need to guard against external foreign influences, as well as the appointment of some political figures to the commission, legitimize the fear that the government will exploit the moment for its electoral campaign interests.’– evaluates Afrim Krasniqi.

Any legislative measures proposed by this commission are challenging to implement when media freedom or freedom of expression is at risk, emphasizes Erjon Tase, a member of civil society and director of the Academy for Political Studies.

For this reason – he continues – media literacy of the public is crucial.

It is crucial to emphasize public education for identifying local and foreign misinformation and disinformation. Educational programs in schools for children and young people need to find other forms to reach other age groups who are the main consumers of media and social networks.‘ – Erjon Tase, Director of the Academy of Political Studies

In its response to Faktoje, the U.S. Department of State referred to the framework of the State Department’s Countering Foreign State-Sponsored Information Manipulation, on which the memorandum signed between the USA and Albania is based.

This document lists steps to help legislators develop a comprehensive operational view of the threat of information manipulation by foreign states and to identify and implement effective ways to combat it.

‘Countering information manipulation by foreign states is best achieved when governments protect and support the role of independent media, promote independent fact-checking, media and digital literacy, and welcome public advocacy on this issue.’ the document states.

The framework emphasizes the importance of a strategy in national policies that go beyond the approach of ‘monitoring and reporting’ and ensure guarantees for freedom of expression and transparency in media ownership.


Since the process began for establishing the commission for disinformation, the primary concern of civil society and the opposition has been the lack of transparency, consultations, and discussions about this initiative. The information blackout appears to be ongoing. Faktoje reached out to several members of the Socialist Party, signatories of the request for establishing the commission, or proposed members to be part of it, but no one agreed to speak about this initiative, further complicating the understanding of the purpose of the disinformation commission.

The fact remains that international partners, the EU and the USA, are requesting that the process be extensively discussed, civil society be involved, and media freedom be guaranteed, which has not yet occurred.



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