Directed to: Union of Albanian Journalists
Albanian Media Council
For knowledge: Audiovisual Media Authority
After several days of debate loaded with hate and discriminatory language directly attacking the LGBTI+ community and their families, we want to bring to your attention the situation created due to false statements published by media portals in the country, driven by misunderstandings and lack of moderation in television TV shows of ABC News and Top Channel, respectively ABC e Pasdites dated June 8, 2021, and Shqipëria Live dated June 9th. At the same time, we want to bring to your attention the escalation of hate speech toward the LGBTI+ community on social networks of these televisions, as well as dozens of other media portals in the country.
Aware of the dangerous situation in which the media environment finds itself in the country, with increased risk of state regulation, the presence of censorship and self-censorship, we would not want in any way that this request seemed to be a request for bypassing topics that affect the cause of the LGBTI+ community.
On the contrary, this request is an invitation in an absent and important media debate for our community and the society. But the lack of self-regulation and effective mechanisms to address hate speech, has turned the current media environment into an increased risk to LGBTI+, which is periodically increasing prejudices on these persons, exacerbating also the respecting of their rights and representation as equal in the media.
In this actual case, we all testified how the invention of groundless news and the use of sensational titles, misdirected the audience, creating dozens of fake news with very damaging consequences for the LGBTI+ community, which were followed by hate, threats and defamation toward LGBTI+ activists, their family members, and LGBTI+ supporters in social networks.
Journalism in Albania should be guided by the principles of ethics, sanctioned also in the Code of Ethics of the Media, where the accuracy of information and its fair and clear communication are universal and irrefutable principles. However, we notice that currently, these two principles have been violated and continue to be violated regularly, especially when it comes to the portrayal of the LGBTI+ community or communicating their issues.
The media should not distort or misuse statements made in certain contexts.
We would greatly appreciate your public response on the cases in question and on the non-correct portrayal of the LGBTI+ community by visual media in the country and those online. At the same time, we ask for a detailed analysis of the situation, recalling the ethical principles from which the media and journalists should be guided in these cases.
Together we can achieve that media self-regulation, produce a more ethical and more inclusive media environment.
While congratulating you for your work and contribution to the media and its well-functioning, we hope in a quick response on your part.