Media Regulation

Media freedom and freedom of expression are explicitly recognized and guaranteed by the Albanian Constitution. The Article 22 of the Albanian Constitution guarantees freedom of expression, freedom of the press, radio and television and specifically prohibits prior restraint of the means of communications. Albania has also ratified the European Convention on Human Rights, the European treaty that guarantees freedom of expression and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, the international treaty covering the standards on freedom of expression through its Article 19. Aside from constitutional provisions and international treaties, freedom of the media in Albania is also guaranteed by the laws on the print and audiovisual media. 

The 1993 law ‘On the press’ was amended in 1997 and has only one article, which stipulates that the press is free and its freedom is protected by law. The law nr. 97/2013 “On Audiovisual media in the Republic of Albania,” was passed in March 2013, with the goal of harmonizing the Albanian legislation with the European Union’s directive on Audiovisual Media Services. The law was passed with a view to implement the Digital Switchover Strategy aiming at ensuring the transition from analogue to digital broadcasting. The switchover from analogue to digital was completed in 2020. 

The law establishes the Audiovisual Media Authority (AMA) as the main regulatory authority for audio and broadcast media outlets. The main tasks of the AMA include granting and revoking licenses and/or authorizations; ensuring fair competition; cooperating with other institutions and monitoring of TV and radio programmes, overseeing the implementation of the law by audiovisual media outlets, and, in case of violation, taking administrative measures and imposing sanctions. The AMA consists of a chairperson, a deputy chairperson and five members, all appointed by Parliament for a five-years term, with the right to be appointed for a second mandate. The appointment of the members of AMA by parliament is bipartisan. Three candidates should have the support of the ruling majority in Parliament and three the support of the opposition. The Chair is appointed through a majority vote in Parliament and the Deputy Chair is chosen by the members of the AMA from a list of three names of members who represent the opposition. The authority has also a Complaints Committee the main task of which is to oversee the implementation of the Broadcasting Code and regulations adopted by the AMA. The members of the Complaints Committee are appointed by the AMA. It is composed of the chair and two members – specialists in the field of media, who have a three year mandate, with a renewal right of not more than once. AMA is financed through revenues that it collects through the licensing fee. Its annual budget in 2021 was 2.6 million euros. 

In July 2021, parliament elected the former spokesperson of the ruling Socialist Party,  Armela Krasniqi as the chair of the Audiovisual Media Authority in Albania, raising questions on the AMA’s political independence. The nomination was slated by a number of international media rights organizations, including Article 19, the European Centre for Press and Media Freedom (ECPMF), European Federation of Journalists (EFJ), International Press Institute (IPI) and Osservatorio Balcani Caucaso Transeuropa (OBCT). The deputy chair, Desada Metaj was elected in March 2022. Metaj is a former TV journalist, anchorwoman and media adviser to the opposition Democratic Party. 

In Albania there is no legislation that defines what online media are or that regulates them. However, in cases of legal proceedings on defamation there is no difference between audio, audio visual, press and online media outlets, which enjoy the same rights and responsibilities. In 2018, the government announced a set of amendments to Law no. 97/2013, known as the “anti-defamation package”, which aimed to broaden the scope of AMA’s Authority to regulate online media outlets. The amendments aimed to empower the Council of Complaints in the Audiovisual Media Authority, a body perceived as neither independent from politics nor professional, to impose fines of up to 20,000 euros on digital native media outlets for content violations - sanctions that had to be paid before a judicial review was exhausted. In 2020, the proposed amendments to the media law were vetoed by the President and a later review of the proposed legislation by the Venice Commission of the Council of Europe found that it would have a chilling effect on media freedom in Albania. Under pressure from the European Union in November 2022, the government reluctantly withdrew from the initiative to regulate online media.  

In April 2023, the parliament approved some changes and additions to the Law no. 97/2013 “On audiovisual media in the Republic of Albania”, in order to align it with EU legislation, more specifically the 2018 Audiovisual Media Services Directive. The new amendments extend the scope of the audiovisual media law to the services of video distribution platforms. 

Although online media is not regulated in Albania, the environment that it operates in, meaning the internet, is regulated. Law no. 9918, of 19 May 2008, “On Electronic Communications in the Republic of Albania”, as amended, defines the Electronic and Postal Communications Authority (AKEP) as the national authority responsible for supervising, controlling and monitoring the activities of Internet service providers (ISPs) in Albania. Article 13 of the law says any entrepreneur is free to provide electronic communications networks and services in the Republic of Albania in accordance with the requirements of this law. The provision of electronic communications networks and services is based on authorisation by AKEP. The AKEP is run by the advisory council, which is made up of five members nominated by the Council of Ministers and elected by parliament for a five year term, with the right to reelection for a second term. The chair of the council is appointed through its members and parliament and is the executive head of AKEP. The current chair of AKEP, Tomi Frasheri is former diplomatic and protocol adviser to Prime Minister Edi Rama. The AKEP is financed through revenues from fees on the use of frequencies and tariffs on market oversight paid by telecommunication operators. AKEP’s annual budget is about 3.6 million euros. 

Although the Albanian constitution, its legislation and the European Convention on Human Rights recognize the fundamental rights to freedom of expression and freedom of the media, they also provide for proportional restrictions. Such restrictions can only be made by law, and should be in the public interest or for the protection of the rights of others. 

In Albania, the main restrictions on freedom of expression regulated by law include defamation and libel, hate speech, copyrighted material, and data protection. The main institutions tasked with overseeing these restrictions are criminal and civil courts, the Commissioner for Anti-Discrimination and the Commissioner for Data Protection, as well as self-regulatory bodies, like the Albanian Media Council. 

The Criminal Code of Albania allows any citizens, including public officials, to file criminal charges against journalists for defamation, insult, or interference in their private life. Also, the Civil Code has provisions for non-pecuniary damages. The plaintiff can solicit financial compensation for insult or deliberate publication of defamatory information if the courts rule with a final verdict.

The right to information is recognized in the Constitution of the Republic of Albania under Article 23, and is regulated by the Law no. 119/2014 "On the right to information". Refusals to access information can be appealed in The Commissioner for the Freedom of Information and Protection of Personal Data and in the Administrative Court, but these mechanisms are time consuming and not always effective. The main piece of legislation in Albania that deals in detail with data protection rights is the Law on Personal Data Protection, along with the sublegal acts issued by the Commissioner for the Freedom of Information and Protection of Personal Data, which is the competent authority that supervises the compliance of data controllers and/ or data processors with the legislation in force. The Commissioner for the Freedom of Information and Protection of Personal Data is nominated by the Prime Minister for a 5-years term and elected by parliament, with the right to reelection for a second term in office. The current Commissioner, Besnik Dervshi was first elected in 2019 and again in 2024. Dervishi is former minister and MP from the ruling Socialist Party. The annual budget of the Commissioner’s office is about 835,000 euros and is financed by the state budget. 


Constitution of the Republic of Albania, (1998). Accessed on 19.08.2023
Criminal Code of the Republic of Albania Accessed on 19.08.2023
Albania Helsinki Committee, Evaluation of Human Rights and Rule of Law during the Albanian Presidency of OSCE, (2021). Accessed on 19.08.2023
Law No. 97/2013 “On Audiovisual Media”, (2019). Accessed on 19.08.2023
Legal Albania, Audiovisual surveillance – changes and new additions to law no. 97/2013 “For audiovisual media in the republic of Albania” (2023). Accessed on 19.08.2023
Venice Commission of the Council of Europe, Opinion on draft amendments to Law N°97/2013 “On the Audiovisual Media Service’, (2020). Accessed on 19.08.2023
European Centre for Press and Media Freedom, “Albania: Media pluralism and transparency concerns fuel deterioration in media freedom”, (2022). Accessed on 19.08.2023
Law on the Right to Information, (2014). Accessed on 19.08.2023, Pesë organizata dënojnë zgjedhjen e Krasniqit në krye të AMA [Five organizations condemn Krasniqi elections as AMA chair], (2021). Accessed on 24.08.2023
Berisha mentioned her, Desada Metaj: You found jobs for your spokespeople in the televisions of Rama, (2023). Accessed on 24.08.2023
Albania Media Authority, Decision No.153, date 24.12.2020, for the approval of the draft budget for 2021, (2020). Accessed on 24.08.2023
BIRN Albania, Regulations on data protection procesing for media and journalists in Albania, (2023). Accessed on 24.08.2023
Benik Dervishi, CV, (2023). Accessed on 24.08.2023

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