ECPMF: Journalists in Albania ordered to hand over documents that might risk their sources

Tirana Times
By Tirana Times April 17, 2021 22:14

ECPMF: Journalists in Albania ordered to hand over documents that might risk their sources

The European Centre for Press and Media Freedom (ECPMF) has expressed its concerns regarding the SPAK order for journalists Andi Bushati and Armand Shkullaku to hand over a database that contained the personal information of more than 910,000 voters in Albania. "Bushati and Shkullaku run Lapsi.al, an online media outlet in Albania. They refused to comply with the order due to their concerns regarding the source of information. As a result of their refusal, the prosecution interviewed the journalists," writes ECPMF. The statement from the European Centre for Press and Media Freedom continues by saying that it is unclear whether criminal investigations against journalists have been officially initiated.

"The prosecution order follows revelations published by Lapsi.al that the governing party, the Socialist Party has been undertaking a significant collection of personal information and data of all voters in Albania," writes ECPMF, adding that "This data was allegedly taken from E-Albania, a government-run platform connected with the Civil Registry and provided to the Socialist Party for use in the electoral campaign. This claim has been refuted by the president of the Socialist Party and Prime Minister of Albania, Edi Rama. He has not provided evidence of the true origin of the data in line with his denial."

ECPMF continues its statement by citing Albanian media information, according to which the database provided data on ""voters’ ID number, name, father’s name, surname, date of birth, voting center, list number, phone number, their immigration status and if they were born elsewhere, their origin country, the likelihood that they would vote for the Socialist Party," and so on. According to Lapsi.al, ECPMF has registered the episode also in the Mapping Media Freedom platform.

Tirana Times
By Tirana Times April 17, 2021 22:14