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The Albanian Radio Television (RTSH)

The Albanian Radio Television (RTSH)

RTSH is the Albanian Public Broadcaster, which controls several TV and Radio outlets. Its foundation dates back to The Kingdom of Albania, which founded Radio Tirana. The television, primarily known as TVSH, started broadcasting experiments in 1960, while for the first time it transmitted a news edition in 1963.

After the foundation of TV, the state-owned broadcaster was named RTSH (Albanian Radio Television), a name which it still carries today. The main media of the group is the TV station, now called RTSH, which up until 1996 was the only television station in Albanian language and for a period of time was the only broadcaster in Albania with a national reach. However, as new commercial television stations expanded their reach, RTSH lost its hold on the Albanian audience. Now part of RTSH are several other outlets, including; RTSH 1, RTSH 2, RTSH 3, RTSH Sport, RTSH Film, RTSH Shqip, and also radio outlets: Radio Tirana, Radio Tirana 2, Radio Tirana Klasik, Radio Tirana International. The public broadcaster has received two digital TV licenses from AMA.

RTSH is financed by the public, mainly through a special tariff 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 RTSH contract for radio collaboration with China, (General Administration of Press and Publication, Radio, Film, and Television station), and 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 the audience share from a low 1-2% to 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 football team.

The television station and radios part of RTSH 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 the 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.

Key facts

Business Form


Legal Form

Public Institution

Business Sectors

Radio and Television Broadcasting; Music Production; Digital Broadcasting Network


The Republic of Albania

The Albanian public finances the RTSH through direct tax, levied with the electricity bill, and from the state budget. The Albanian Radio Television (RTSH) is a nonprofit institution, registered as a legal public entity under the control of the Albanian Parliament.

Media Outlets
Other Media Outlets

Other TV Outlets


Other Radio Outlets

Radio Tirana 2

Other Online Outlets


Media Business

Digital Broadcasting Network


Sport licensing


Broadcasting for third parts


General Information

Founding Year


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.




Rruga Ismail Qemali № 11, Tirana

Tel: +355(4) 2223911


Tax/ ID Number


Financial Information

Revenue (Financial Data/ Optional)

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%)


Supervisory Board

Some aspects of the work of RTSH are regulated directly by the law On Audiovisual media, including the way the members of the supervisory council and the general director are selected. The Council is the institution’s highest body and plays a role in the selection of the News Director of RTSH, which is proposed by the general director and approved by the Council. The Supervisory Council (KDRTSH) approves the statute and guidelines for RTSH and oversees their implementation. The Council oversees the editorial independence of the public television, impartiality and objectivity of the programs.

Other Influential People

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.

Further Information

Passive Transparency

upon request, ownership data is easily available from the company/channel

3 ♥

Meta Data

The information on RTSH 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. RTSH is a legal public entity under the control of Albanian Parliament.
The financial data provided are for 2016. The Central Bank's average exchange rate for 2016 was used to convert the amounts into USD.

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