International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) today accused Albanian authorities of violating press freedom
rights after a court in Tirana awarded damages of 400.000 EUR over a case of
investigative journalism in which a senior government official was exposed for
promising jobs in exchange for sexual favours.
Pango, former minister of Culture, Tourism , Youth and Sport, was exposed by the
network Top Channel in a video which showed a secret film of him promising jobs
to a young woman in exchange for sexual favours. He resigned from his position
after the broadcast.
decision is almost as scandalous as the practices the programme sought to
expose and should not stand," said Aidan White, IFJ General Secretary. "This is
a case where public interest outweighed the privacy of a senior public figure
who was acting quite unethically."
to reports, the court case arose from Top Channel's broadcast on 4 March of its
investigation into the conduct of Pango following allegations that he was
soliciting sexual intercourse with young women to whom he promised jobs. The
channel's female journalist had posed as potential employee and secretly
recorded her conversation with the former minister to confirm the allegations.
court found that the investigation violated Pango's personal privacy and
ordered Top Channel to pay him record damages.
IFJ says the ruling is likely to undermine the kind of investigative journalism
which renders a public service in a democracy by ensuring that the powerful are
not shielded from the scrutiny and accountability to the public.
impact of this decision goes beyond the issue of press freedom in Albania and
appears to contravene European human rights protection for press freedom,"
added White. "It is also a blow to open government which commands public trust.
It must be set aside by a higher court."
For more information
contact the IFJ at +32 2 235 22 07
The IFJ represents over 600,000 journalists
in 125 countries worldwide