Albania Media Sustainability Index (MSI)
About the MSI
IREX designed the MSI to measure the strength and viability of any country’s media sector. The MSI considers all the factors that contribute to a media system—the quality of journalism, effectiveness of management, the legal environment supporting freedom of the press, and more—to arrive at scores on a scale ranging between 0 and 4. These scores represent the strength of the media sector components and can be analyzed over time to chart progress (or regression) within a country. Additionally, countries or regions may be compared to one another. IREX currently conducts the MSI in 80 countries, and produced the first Europe & Eurasia MSI in 2001.
MSI Albania - 2016 Introduction
Overall Country Score: 2.55
After receiving EU candidate status in 2014, Albania’s EU integration process stagnated in 2015. With the start of EU membership negotiations contingent upon the extremely difficult challenge of judicial reform and the struggle against corruption, which persists at high political levels, the country was unable to launch the talks. Chronic political conflict remains another barrier.
In its first two years, the government of socialist Edi Rama managed to reverse the downward economic trend. However, the GDP growth proved insufficient to lift visibly the living standards for much of the population. Unemployment and poverty remain rather high. Government attempts to limit these phenomena have only partially succeeded, as widespread corruption and clientelism continue to undermine the rule of law.
Albania belongs to those states that transitioned from communist dictatorship to democracy without establishing an autonomous state administration and without experiencing rule of law. In the 25 years since communism fell, each government has used the public administration to collect votes by offering their supporters posts in government, making sure to fire the supporters of previous governments. Although the left wing, currently in power, has shown greater constraint in cleaning up the bureaucratic apparatus, the situation remains critical. Legal protections offered to secure civil service posts have largely failed and the system prevents merit-based employment and facilitates the abuse of political power.
Albania also lacks an independent judiciary, allowing large-scale corruption to go unpunished. Despite corruption and the fact that media frequently speak up to denounce scandals, no high official (at the deputy minister level and above) has ever been punished on corruption charges. Even though powerfully supported by the international actors, corrupt clans—present in all political camps—seem secretly to obstruct attempts at judicial reform. A majority of the public expresses support for an independent judiciary, but the aspiration ends there. In reality, no force or social stratum has rallied to support this goal, and its proponents have proved no match for the camps opposed to reform. Reformists suspect that corrupt political clans, threatened by the prospect of a judicial authority they no longer control, fuel the political conflict with the express aim of dragging out the reform process endlessly.
With few positive strides to report in the media realm, the MSI score remains virtually the same as the 2015 study. Newspapers, magazines, radio stations, and television stations continue to feel the weight and consequences of economic crisis, which silently erodes their independence. The panelists also report problems with media regulators and with the public television station. Online media appear to be the only area of growth and expansion.
Notice of Rights: Permission is granted to display, copy, and distribute the MSI in whole or in part, provided that: (a) the materials are used with the acknowledgement “The Media Sustainability Index (MSI) is a product of IREX with funding from USAID.”; (b) the MSI is used solely for personal, noncommercial, or informational use; and (c) no modifications of the MSI are made.
Disclaimer: The opinions expressed herein are those of the panelists and other project researchers and do not necessarily reflect the views of USAID or IREX.