Media Consumption

Print media in Albanian language traces its origin to the mid-nineteenth century publication of periodicals in the diaspora as part of the national revival movement. However, it only found a mass audience in the second part of the twentieth century with the improvement of literacy rates in the country. Although Radio Tirana was inaugurated in 1938 and the first television broadcast was aired in 1963; broadcasting was restricted by censorship and propaganda during Albania’s communist regime from 1946-1991. Albanians eager to learn what was going on in the West, often turned to Italian television broadcasts. Although the signal was jammed by the communist regime, like all Western cultural imports. Viewing the programme could be punished with imprisonment for the criminal offense of agitation and propaganda.     

During communism Albania had only one state-owned television station and two daily newspapers, controlled tightly by the communist party or its affiliated trade unions. With the collapse of the regime, the media also embarked on a process of transformation, with new outlets and independent newspapers opening up and private broadcasters being established. However, it was not until 1995 that Albanian got its first private television and radio station. The first decade after the collapse of communism was dominated by the broadcast of foreign media, mainly Italian RAI and Mediaset. Around the turn of the millennia dozens of television and radio stations had sprung up, vying for an audience share in a small and quickly saturated market. Most radio stations that opened in Albania after the collapse of the communist regime, air little news and are mostly oriented toward music and entertainment programs. 

Television and print would go on to dominate the media market for two decades, before the advent of online and social media would transform them into legacy outlets. With increased access to broadband internet and smartphones, social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram have come to dominate the market, as the medium of choice for Albanians to get their news, leaving behind television and online media outlets. According to a survey on media consumption published by the Balkan Investigative Reporting Network in Albania in July 2023, 82% of respondents used social media as a source to get news and information on social, political, economic and similar local and global events every day or almost every day. The use of social media as a source for news and information was higher among the urban population, the employed population and women.  There are an estimated 900 digital native online media outlets in Albania, often referred to locally as news portals. 

According to World Bank data in Albania, 100% of the population have access to electricity. Data published by the Albania Electronic Communications and Postal Authority, AKEP, report that there were 186,153 fixed telephone lines in Albania in the first quarter of 2022, or roughly 24% of households in Albania.  According to a survey on information and communication technologies (ICT) usage in households and by individuals in 2022, published by the Albanian Institute of Statistics, INSTAT, only 44.3% of the population have a computer at home. In the age group of 16-74 years, 82.6% of the population use the Internet, of which 91.6% use it several times during the day.  99.9% of individuals have the technical ability to access the internet through mobile/smart phones. While 23.5% of the target population uses the internet through laptop, 20.8% uses computer/desktop and 13.1%, tablet. The percentage of individuals who make calls/video calls (via Skype, Viber, WhatsApp) is 98.5% and this indicator has shown an increase of 0.2 percentage points, compared with the previous year, 2021. Public television and radio covers 97% of the Albanian territory with its two digital frequencies. According to AKEP in the first quarter of 2022, there were 2.58 million mobile telephone users in Albania. 

In terms of media consumption, 82% of Albanians use social media every day or almost every day, 6% at least every week and 2% at least every month. Television is used by 75% of the population every day or almost every day and by another 13% every week. 69% of respondents use online media outlets every day or almost every day and 14 % at least once a week. 9% of Albanians used radio as a source of information every day or almost every day and 11% at least once a week. Print newspapers are read every day by 4% of Albanians and once a week by 7%. 

The print market in Albania reached a peak in the mid-2000s with about two dozen newspapers published every day and tens of weeklies, magazines and periodicals. The numbers have been dwindling in recent years due to the digitalization of media. After the COVID-19 pandemic, eight daily newspapers remain in the market, two weekly literary/cultural newspapers, a weekly business magazine and a number of monthly niche interests’ magazines. In Albania there are currently four national TV broadcasters, one public and three commercial broadcasters.  The public service media includes 16 regional and thematic TV channels. There are also 37 local television stations and 21 cable/ Internet Protocol television (IPTV), over-the-top media / streaming (OTT)  channels. 

The public broadcaster has 11 radio stations, 3 broadcast in FM waves nationally (Radio Tirana 1, Radio Tirana 2 and Radio Tirana Classic), 4 digital terrestrial frequencies and four local radio stations (Radio Korca, Radio Shkodra, Radio Kukës, Radio Gjirokastra). There are currently three commercial national radio stations broadcasting in Albania and 52 regional commercial ones. According to Albania’s Union of Journalists, a Tirana based NGO, in 2022 there are more than 900 news portals registered. The most popular social media platform in Albania is Facebook, followed by Instagram. In June 2023 Facebook, which is owned by Meta, and is the largest social media platform in the world had 1,838,700 users in Albania, equivalent to 65.2 percent of the country’s population. The only news agency in Albania is the state-owned Albania Telegraphic News agency, ATA. 

In Albania there are three digital terrestrial distribution platforms for radio and television. One is owned by the public service media, RTSH. Two are private and include pay per view channels, Digitalb and Tring TV. Digitalb and Tring TV operate satellite distribution platforms. In Albania there were also 62 cable networks, one IPTV, 14 OTT and one VOD provider. 


INSTAT, Survey on Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) usage in Households and by Individuals, (2022). Accessed on 26.08.2023
World Bank, data, (2023). Accessed on 26.08.2023
AKEP, Numri i linjave të pajtimtarëve të telefonisë fikse [Number of lines and households with fixed telephone lines], (2022). Accessed on 26.08.2023
Raporti vjetor i RTSH 2021 [RTSH annual report 2021] Accessed on 26.08.2023
Ecuria e numrit të përdoruesve aktivë të telefonisë celulare [Number of active mobile telephone users], (2022). Accessed on 26.08.2023
BIRN Albania, BIRN Albania and SCiDEV Present Studies on Disinformation, Propaganda and Fake News, (2023). Accessed on 26.08.2023
Albania Audiovisual Media Authority, OSHMA Audiovizive [Broadcasting stations]. Accessed on 18.08.2023
Albania Audiovisual Media Authority, OSHMA të autorizuara për ofrimin e shërbimit audioviziv [Outlets authorized to offer audiovisual services], (2023). Accessed on 18.08.2023
Albania Audiovisual Media Authority, OSHMA të autorizuara për përsërit e shërbimit audioviziv [Outlets authorized to rebroadcast audiovisual services], (2023). Accessed on 18.08.2023
Albania Audiovisual Media Authority ,OSHMA të autorizuara për transmetim audioviziv satelitor [outlets authorized for satellite audiovisual services], (2023). Accessed on 18.08.2023
Albania Media Authority, OSHMA Audio, [Radio Stations], (2023). Accessed on 18.08.2023
Radio Tirana, Frekuencat e radios [Radio Frequences], (2023). Accessed on 18.08.2023
US State Department, 2022 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices: Albania, (2023). Accessed on 19.08.2023, Social Media Stats Albania July 2022 - July 2023, (2023). Accessed on 19.08.2023

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