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 - 2015 Introduction
Overall Country Score: 2.52
The year 2014 was the first year in power for Prime Minister Edi Rama’s left-wing coalition government, after Prime Minister Sali Berisha’s eight years in power. In the past, Albania was refused candidate status for EU membership. In 2014, however, 28 EU member states granted Albania official EU membership candidate status, an achievement attributed to the will of Prime Minister Rama’s government to implement anti-corruption and criminal reform. It also tackled the country’s drug trafficking problems.
After communism fell in the early 1990s, Albania spent more than two decades trying to strengthen its ties with Europe. According to domestic public polls, approximately 90 percent of Albanians wish to unite with Europe. To do so the country must implement economic, social, and judicial reforms in order to obtain membership status. International actors are encouraging the Albanian government to consolidate the rule of law, ensuring an independent judiciary, which can tackle rampant corruption and impunity at the highest political levels. However, the lack of consensus between the ruling majority and the opposition has hindered the fulfillment of this objective. The prevailing conflictual spirit in politics, despite the peaceful transition of
power following the June 2013 elections, also has prevented Albania from consolidating the rule of law. This spirit has not affected the harmony between religious groups, a trait Albanians have preserved for centuries. Not even Pope Francis’s visit to Tirana and his messages for peace and harmony have helped mitigate the tense political climate.
Corruption and organized crime remain unchecked in Albania and are exacerbated by the absence of an independent judiciary. For more than two decades, corruption has been deeply entrenched within Albanian politics. In 2014, the reforms required to help expedite the country’s integration with the EU were hampered by a six-month boycott by the right-wing opposition in parliament. The opposition boycotted parliament, accusing some majority members of participating in organized crime. It also accused the government of
trying to undermine independent institutions.
Albania’s media environment improved over the past year; however, the press has felt the impact of the economic crisis and growing political tension. The economic crisis has dried up funding sources critical for the development of an independent press. Political wrangling has resulted in ongoing misuse use of the media for political interests and gain.
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.