Fjori SinorukaTiranaBIRNJanuary 26, 202311:38Local and international media organizations and the President of Albania have all condemned the attack on an Albanian journalist who had been threatened over his article reporting a court ruing.
Journalist Elvis Hila after the attack. Photo courtesy: Elvis Hila
European and Albanian journalists’ associations condemned the attack on an Albanian journalist assaulted on Wednesday in his home town of Lezha after he published a news item about a court ruling.
Following publication of the story Elvis Hilla was called on the phone by two different people, threatening him related to the news story that he had published. He and his wife were then attacked while they were in his car.
“These actions do not hinder my mission in the service of truth, which I have been doing with full desire and passion for 12 years,” Hila said on Thursday.
Albanian police said that they had started an investigation and were searching for two alleged authors of the attack on the journalist and his wife.
The European Centre for Press and Media Freedom, ECPMF, condemned the attack as shocking.
“We are shocked by the news that Albanian journalist Elvis Hila & his wife were physically attacked today around 5pm in Lezhe, #Albania. According to Hila, after attacking him, one of the perpetrators hit his wife in the head while she was picking up the mobile from the ground,” ECPMF wrote on Twitter.
Albania’s Union of Journalist also condemned the attack. “The violent attack by two identified citizens on a journalist because of his duty constitutes criminal and punishable aggression,” a press statement said.
The President of Albania, Bajram Begaj, urged the authorities to investigated and uncover the crime. “Violation of free speech, pressure and above all violence against journalists is unacceptable in a democratic state,” he declared.
The attack on Hila is not an isolated case in Albania, however. Journalists often face pressure from politicians and organized criminal groups. In 2022, Albania fell 20 places in the press freedom index compiled by international watchdog Reporters Without Borders, dropping from 83rd to 103rd place.
Reporters Without Borders said journalists in Albania are targeted by organised crime groups and even by the police and that the state is failing to protect them, while private media outlets are owned by businessmen with links with politicians.
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