In an interview with Portalb.mk, Alma Janka, chief editor of Faktoje.al, a fact-checking service in Albania, says that the best “remedy” against misinformation is media education. According to her, there should be a greater spirit of cooperation between the media and other actors that influence the media world, with respect for the code of professional ethics, the principles of journalism, and not to allow publications that only aim at increasing the number of clicks, and do not have any level of content. She says that politics in Albania is often the basis for spreading fake news and says that North Macedonia has received necessary attention in the Albanian media.
What is the most common media manipulation and misinformation that circulate in Albania?
Janka: I believe the most common media manipulation and misinformation in Albania is closely related to politics. Many politicians try to manipulate information related to economic political development, health, education, and infrastructure. Media manipulation, but mainly misinformation, unfortunately, has found suitable ground in Albania, most often when corrupt cases, which have a large impact on the general public or a large-scale scandal, attempts to “cover up” it up with another scandal.
Is there a “remedy” against spreading misinformation?
Janka: I would very much like to say, that it does exist, but I believe that this “remedy” doesn’t completely heal, which means that even if it does exist, it does not work. However, I would like to be optimistic in this regard. I say that the best “remedy” is media education, we must also have a spirit of greater cooperation between the media and other actors that influence the media world. Besides that, I would add the individual conscience. This last remedy can achieve miracles ..
Does the Albanian Government plan to combat misinformation and how active it is on this issue?
Janka: Even if the Albanian government has such a plan, it does not appear to have been effective so far, and I believe that there is a constant attempt to disorient the public, at a time when the public already has difficulty finding out the truth, as the public is manipulated by the government itself. The Albanian government had an initiative, in this regard, through preparing draft laws on regulating internet media, however, two of these draft laws were judged as censorship of free speech. Also, as far as I know, last year the Albanian government proposed amendments to the laws related to the media.
Are there any court cases in Albania for inciting and causing danger, panic or general fear in the public through dissemination of disinformation and hate speech?
Janka: I can not speak with full competence on this issue, because I do not know about any specific cases, but from what I do know, there is no court proceedings.
How active are Albanian media associations in the fight against misinformation?
Janka: I think that the media associations could have acted earlier, but now they can do more in this direction and there is always room for improvement. However, there are no shortages of initiatives, activities or different actions of organizations or associations working in the fight against misinformation.
Is there any misinformation about North Macedonia in the Albanian media and if so, which are most common?
Janka: I would not dare to generalize all of the Albanian media and say that there is misinformation about North Macedonia, however it may have happened. I choose to be informed about various media channels (traditional media or not), but I can not follow them all to give an accurate conclusion to this question.