Roughly 96.5 % of Albania’s population of 2.8 million inhabitants has access to the internet through fixed broadband and 99.2 % of households have internet through mobile broadband connection. According to a 2022 survey by the Albania’s National Institute of Statistics, INSTAT, 82.6 % of the population have used ICT services at least once in the last three months. The increased access of the population to broadband internet has translated in recent years into an increase in the number of online publications and their readership. Digital native media outlets often referred to as news portals, have become one of the main sources of information in the country. According to a media consumption survey published by the Balkan Investigative Reporting Network in July 2023, 69% of Albanians use online media every day or almost every day and another 14% at least once a week.
The number of online media outlets has seen an explosion in the last few years, with hundreds of news portals and news aggregators having opened. According to Albania’s Union of Journalists, a Tirana based NGO, in 2022 there are more than 900 news portals registered. However, few of these outlets have a strong editorial structure and their output mostly resembles a curated news aggregator. Due to the overcrowded, small market, most of the online media, with few exceptions, lack financial resources and in its vast majority republish stories from mainstream commercial news outlets. Plagiarism or the so-called ‘copy-paste’ news, sensationalism from click-bait titles and a lack of professional standards are some of the problems often associated with the online media. Although the dramatic growth in online media outlets has provided a diversity of views, it has also increased potential for corruption. The Albania Union of Journalists reported in 2022 a sharp increase in the number of complaints of disinformation and personal attacks by online outlets. 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.
MOM investigated ownership structures of 10 online media outlets presented below, according to its methodology that prescribes a selection of at least 10 outlets with the highest audience reach. This however in Albania was not possible to assess, due to lack of reliable audience measurements for online media. The MOM team therefore relied on data of their interaction on Facebook collected through the Meta-owned application Crowdtangle as proxy-measurement for their readership. Most of these outlets are online editions of existing legacy media, either print or Television.
NSTAT, Survey on Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) usage in Households and by Individuals in 2022, (2023).
Accessed on 19.08.2023
BIRN Albania, BIRN Albania and SCiDEV Present Studies on Disinformation, Propaganda and Fake News, (2023). Accessed on 19.08.2023
US State Department, 2022 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices: Albania, (2023). Accessed on 19.08.2023
Statcounter.com, Social Media Stats Albania July 2022 - July 2023, (2023). Accessed on 19.08.2023