The Department of Communication Sciences in cooperation with the Department of Justice at "Bedër" University College, held today a workshop on "Legal Framework and Investigative Journalism". The workshop was opened by the Department of Communication Sciences, Dr. Erlis Çela, who stressed the importance of such workshops and the importance of information and media to the public good. Further the speech was taken by other participants, who were scholars, as well as media actors and legislation.
Prof. Dr. Altin Shegani, Dean of the Faculty of Law at the University of Tirana, spoke about investigative journalism in aiding court proceedings and the public good. "Freedom of the media and the Law on the Right to Information are understood as privileges for journalists, but should in fact be understood as public information. Media should help people recognize law. This should be done by journalism itself, "said Mr. Shegani.
Further Prof. Dr. Altin Shegani stressed that investigative journalism is the best way to go to the truth because there is no obligation to give details of the source, while from simple individuals this is very easily achievable. He said that investigative journalism can regulate the world, this adjustment may even be maximum, it can never be absolute. Everything is set for the benefit of the public. In the end, he concluded his word by saying that the truth should be told why it could potentially affect us morally.
While the journalist and media scholar Lutfi Dervishi went beyond the role of the media as wach-dog as is commonly known. He stressed that the issue of media ownership complicates things and the owners use the media for personal interests. He also spoke about the law on the right to information, pointing out that the law was not specifically adopted for journalists. "The right to information is guaranteed to all citizens," he said.
Aleksandra Bogdani, from BIRN, emphasized the law on the right to information. According to her, the law itself is very good, but does not apply in practice. "One of the kitchens used by institutions to not provide information is the justification that they are state, investigative or commercial security information," said among others, Bogdani. As a result, the problem is that there is no penalty for not providing information. Usually information is provided on the last day and on the other hand some institutions agree to pay the fine and not provide information. According to her, transparency is hindered and state information is treated as private.
While Prof. Assoc. Irma Baraku said that the media is an auxiliary of institutions to provide and receive information, while on the other hand there are obstacles in providing information to the media on the part of the institutions. According to Mrs. Barak, the big problem is the hate speech in online portals, not by logs but by comments, mainly for religious reasons. She stressed that proportionality is important in dealing with rights: information and discrimination, but also the right to forget, bringing some examples from her work practices.
Alma Janka, editor-in-chief of Faktoje.al, focused on the issue of "factcheck" about the statements of institutions. "There are some obstacles to make things harder: lack of contacts, lack of transparency, updating of data and online archives," said Ms. Janka. She added that some institutions also demand money to provide information.
On the other hand, the Chairman of the Union of Albanian Journalists Aleksandër Çipa mentioned two editorial models for investigation; media editors that function separately from the information departments and the model of independent editors. Further, Mr. Çipa said that the formal position of journalists is not guaranteed by law, and on the other hand there are shortages of salaries and social security. "Work in black in many cases is replicating issues of non-payment."
Roden Hoxha, from the Center for Quality Journalism, brought the example of the Investigative Journalism Laboratory. He said that in their editorial office there are three components of decision-making: the phenomenon, therefore dealing with the problem that has become a phenomenon and not with the individual; weighting what is important to the public even though it harms someone; Announcement of the subject of the news. He also stressed that there is a problem in cooperation with institutions in the implementation of the Law on the Right to Information.
Further discussions continued with the other guests and questions from the students.