Selective Attack with Political Intentions
The Albanian Helsinki Committee (AHC) previously has reacted publicly toward arbitrary actions by certain state bodies that in the name of enforcing the law, have sought to pressure the free media.
In this aspect, attempts to tame and suffocate the powerful critical voice of “Top Channel” Television became concrete with a drastic fine which, eventhough not transparent, is understandable to all.
AHC keeps in mind the fact that correct enforcement of laws should invigorate, not suffocate, the media’s critical voice. In enforcing laws, priority should be given to preventing violations and not abusing to defend certain interests.
Selective treatment, with evident political elements, runs against the constitutional principle of equality before the law and non-discrimination. “Top Channel” and other television stations, pursuant to their mission, time after time have highlighted and denounced numerous cases of corruption and nepotism, abuse in the public administration, and lack of transparency.
AHC views as legal and positively influential the attitudes of the print and broadcast media in informing the broad public to raise its awareness and prevent negative phenomena that hinder the implementation of democratic reforms and, at the same time, tarnish the country’s image.
Precisely for this reason, AHC sees reactions of journalists and broadcast media’s organizations in protection of free speech as correct.
“In a democratic system, – says one of the decisions of the European Court of Human Rights, – action and inaction by governments should be the target of scrupulous scrutiny not only by the legislative and the courts, but even by the press and public opinion. Due to the dominating position the government has, it should be cautious in using penalizing sanctions.”
Such decisions based on the European Convention of Human Rights have not only an orienting nature, but even a binding one for our country as a member of the Council of Europe, seeking integration into the European family.
AHC suggests to the Minister of Finance and the Prime Minister of the Republic of Albania, to order a review of the measure taken toward “Top Channel” Television.