The Albanian Radio Television (RTSH), started broadcasting experiments in 1960, while for the first time it transmitted a news edition in 1963. At the turn of the millennium RTSH was the leading broadcaster in Albania. Up until 1996 it was the only television station in Albanian language and for a period of time was the only broadcaster in Albania with a national reach. The first national commercial TV license was issued in 2001, but even after the licenses were issued most commercial TV stations did not cover all Albania’s territory. However, as new commercial television stations expanded their reach, RTSH lost its hold on Albanian audiences.
The TV station is financed by the public, mainly through a special tax that is paid by every household through the electricity bill, which according to an analysis made by the RTSH in 2016, accounts for 56 % of its revenue, 21 % come from the state budget, while the rest was secured by the TV station by renting transmission antennas or broadcasting for third parties and 3 % from advertising.
In their FOI for MOM, RTSH stated that they have an increase in audience of 5-6% over the past year. They also note that audience measurements by independent monitors are biased. According to RTSH they reach the highest number of viewers during the broadcast of football matches involving the National Team.
The television station had served during Albania’s communist regime as a propaganda tool and struggled to change its ways after the regime collapsed. In the last two decades its editorial line has been aligned with the political majority in power. During the pyramid scheme crisis in 1996-1997, protesters apart from the government also attacked RTSH, which was seen as providing biased coverage. Similar accusations continued after the Socialist Party won the elections in 1997 and there was a change of leadership. Even in the last protest of the opposition Democratic Party, ahead of the parliamentary elections in 2017, its leader Lulzim Basha attacked the director of RTSH, arguing that the public television station was under the control of the ruling majority.
The leadership of RTSH has also been accused of corruption and abuse of office for squandering the funds at its disposal; however, nobody from its management has been charged or convicted of such crimes. Some audits of the High State Auditing office have raised suspicions over poor financial management.
RTSH content is regulated by law and overseen by the Supervisory Council of RTSH (KDRTSH), a collegial body elected by parliament. The public broadcaster has a statute and regulations that guide its content and also several boards for content monitoring, which should represent interests of the Albanian society. However, despite the council and the regulations, RTSH is perceived to be under the influence of the ruling party.
Media Companies / Groups
The Albanian Radio Television (RTSH)
The Albanian Radio Television (RTSH) is a nonprofit institution, registered as legal public entity under the control of the Albanian Parliament
The legal framework foresees the control of parliament over the public broadcast through the selection of the members of the Supervisory Council, where six members are selected by the ruling majority and 5 from the opposition. Even though the recruitment should not be politicized, the selection of the last directors showed that the Supervisory Council was split among party lines. The failure of the council to select a new director for almost three years, as the law required a qualified majority vote, pushed the ruling socialists to amend the Audiovisual Media Law. The new election of the latest director, Thoma Gëllçi, was contested by the opposition party.
Group / Individual Owner
The Republic of Albania
The Albanian public finances the RTSH through direct tax, levied with the electricity bill, and from the state budget.
Affiliated Interests Founder
Albanian Government – RTSH was founded by the Albanian government, and after the collapse of the communist regime it became a public institution.
Affiliated Interests Ceo
Thoma Gëllçi – has a long career in the Albanian media. He started his career as a journalist during the communist regime in the satirical magazine ‘Hosteni’ and after in ‘Zeri i Popullit’- the daily newspaper of the communist party, which later transformed itself into the Socialist Party, where Gellci served for some time as editor in chief. Gëllçi has held a series of senior posts in the public administration and also worked as a spokesperson in 2001 for Prime Minister Ilir Meta, now Albania’s president. The close relationship of Gellci with the socialists has made him persona non-grata to the right-wing Democratic Party, which contested his election as the director of Albania’s public television. Gëllçi was voted to the post by the board (KDRTSH) of directors with 7 out of 11 votes of the supervisory council, a collegial body where the members are selected by the ruling majority and the opposition.
Affiliated Interests Editor-In-Chief
Bledar Zaganjori – is a well-known journalist in Albania. He took over the position of Director of News at RTSH in July 2016, after leaving Top Channel TV. Zaganjori has previously served as the editor in chief of the daily newspaper Shqip and later as director of news and information at Top Channel TV. There were speculations that his appointment as news director at RTSH was spearheaded by Prime Minister Edi Rama. Zaganjori led Top Channel’s news division when the TV station was perceived as supporting Rama’s policies.
Affiliated Interests other important people
Lufti Dervishi – hosts the political show ‘Përballë’ (Face to Face) in RTSH. Dervishi has been a journalist since the early 1990s. He has headed the daily newspapers Republika and Albania. Earlier Dervishi headed the news department at RTSH between 2007 and 2008, and Vizion Plus between 2013 and 2014. Since 1994, he is a lecturer at the journalism department at the Tirana University. Dervishi has cooperated as a commentator with the various local but also international media, including Radio Free Europe and BBC International.
Martin Leka – is deputy director of RTSH. After the departure of the Director General Petrit Beci, Leka directed RTSH in the absence of the director for 3 years. Leka has been a journalist since the early 1990's.
Rezart Aga – transferred from Top Channel to RTSH immediately after the appointment of the new General Director. Aga occupies the post of Programme Director and is responsible for the end-of-year music contest known as “Festivali i Këngës”, one of the main shows at RTSH.
Rruga Ismail Qemali № 11, Tirana
Tel: +355(4) 2223911
Revenue (in Mill. $)
18,4 Mio. $ / 2.396,9 Mio. Lek
Operating Profit (in Mill. $)
Advertising (in % of total funding)
0.57 Mio. $ (3%) / 74 Mio. Lek (3 %)
The information on the company and its financial statements, were obtained from reports published by RTSH on its official website and the response RTSH provided after a MOM FOI request. RTSH has the highest budget and market share, but most of its revenues come from a direct tax. Audience share for Top TV stations was provided by Abacus Research and Telemetrix for 2017, the data are conflicting that’s why both audience shares are presented.