INVA HASANALIAJ

The establishment of the Media Agency was announced, among other things, at the first meeting of the new government’s Council of Ministers, and it would serve as a structure that would centralize all ministry information in an office directly subordinate to the Prime Minister. According to a DCM dated September 18, the head of this office will have the position of Minister of State. Prime Minister Rama claimed that the concept of this agency had been borrowed by Germany and Italy in order to give reasons supporting the expected success of such a structure in relation to the media. The Faktoje inquiry, on the other hand, resulted in a reply from the German government itself, refuting the authenticity of the claims of the Albanian Prime Minister.

Prime Minister Rama revealed one of the major decisions on the establishment of a media and information agency during the first meeting of the new government after the April 25 election. The Prime Minister made it clear that this agency was built on successful models from countries with robust democratic systems, such as Germany or Italy.

“The establishment of the media and information agency is based on many successful models from Germany, Italy, and other countries, ensuring transparency in policies, actions, projects, and issues related to Council of Ministers acts.”

What will the Agency’s role be?

“The Agency’s aim is to provide transparency in policies, activities, projects, and events, as well as the purpose, objectives, innovations, or issues that are resolved by acts of the Council of Ministers and other ministers, as well as any state administration institution.” – the Decision of the Council of Ministers (DCM)of September 18, 2021 stipulated.

The decision to establish the agency specifies that none of the spokespeople are permitted to contact the media, and that all government public relations should be handled by the “Prime Minister’s Spokesperson.”

“According to the provisions of the Agency’s regulation, the head of press at the office of the Council of Ministers spokesperson must be the initial point of contact with journalists.”

The Agency will investigate the appointment and dismissal of spokespeople for central institutions, who have previously been appointed and dismissed by relevant ministers and have typically held the position of councilor. Ministers’ public activities, including press conferences, will be monitored by this Agency.

“The Council of Ministers’ spokesman shall be the General Director, whose position is equal to that of a Minister of State.” – the decision stated, creating a propaganda ministry for the first time since 2001, when one of Pandeli Majko’s cabinets had a minister “for information” at the time.

Is there a Media Agency in Italy and Germany?

Faktoje contacted four fact-checking organizations in Italy and Germany (all of which are members of the International Fact-Checking Network – IFCN), who confirmed that no such structure existed in the relevant countries and they are ready to respond within the day.

*Request addressed to “Pagella Politica”, a fact-checking organization in Italy

“I’m sorry, but I never really heard of something similar in Italy. I also asked Giovanni, our director, and he agrees with me: “We don’t think that such a structure exists in Italy.” – representatives from Pagella Politica stated.

*“Pagella Politica” reply to Faktoje.al

 Germany

We asked two additional fact-checking organizations in Germany by email (this time to Germany).

AFP Faktencheck

“Every ministry has its own press service here. In addition, there is a Presse- und Informationsamt der Bundesregierung (Press and Information Office of the Federal Government of Germany), which speaks for the chancellor and the government. Since the ministers are part of the government’s cabinet, these guys are also coordinated with the other ministries on important questions, but as far as I know they don’t supervise or tell them what to do in any way.” – AFP Faktencheck replied.

*“AFP Faktencheck” reply to Faktoje.al

In Germany, there is yet another fact-checking organization, Corrective.org, that responded in a similar manner as the former, stating that no such agency exists in their country.

Correctiv.org

*“Correctiv.org” reply to Faktoje.al

“As far as I know, there is no such agency in Germany, I never heard of it. The press spokespersons of the ministers are appointed by the ministers. Maybe there is a misunderstanding. In Germany, we have on the one hand the press office of the government, but they don’t speak for all ministries. And then we have something called Bundespressekonferenz, but this is not a government agency, but an independent organization, mainly of journalists. They organize official government press conferences and don’t appoint spokespersons.” – Corrective.org responded.

This organization advised that we contact the government’s press office to get further information about this. We did precisely that, submitting a request for information to the government’s press office, which, it should be noted, promptly replied to Faktoje within two days.

“The government’s spokesperson speaks on behalf of the Federal Chancellery and the Federal Government in general,”

– one of this office’s officials who replied on behalf of the government, stated. Individual ministries choose who will be their spokesperson on their own.”

*Official reply of the German Government Press Office

Prime Minister Rama alluded to the Federal Press Office when discussing parallels between the newly created structure in the country, however the Federal Press Office emphasized on their website that it is not an institution that regulates or supervises the press in any way.

*Official website of the German Press Office

Based on the evidence we gathered, we determined that Prime Minister Rama’s claim that the Media Agency was modeled after Germany or Italy is False.