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Press Freedom in Albania

Reporters without Borders recently issued their fifth annual Worldwide Press Freedom Index. Unfortunately Albania, which first appeared on the Index in 2003 continues to slide down the rankings. In 2003 the country was ranked 34. Last year it had slipped to 62 and this year it has fallen further to 80. Within Europe, only countries like Moldova and Belarus do worse.

Not that too many Western nations have any reason to be complacent. Most of these have also slipped dramatically over the period covered by the index. Germany has fallen from 7 to 23; France from 11 to 35; Japan from 26 to 51; the USA from 17 to 53; and Canada from 5 to 16. The UK has muddled along in the 20's throughout.

Not all of the pressure on the media comes from the state, and RSF include threats to press freedom from 'armed militias, clandestine organisations or pressure groups.' This gives a more accurate picture overall, but can give a distorted picture of the state's role. The weaker the state, the more likely that non-state actors will be effective in subverting the press no matter.

It is also possible that a country could slip down the rankings even if the state was becoming less hostile to the press, if, at the same time, non-state actors were having a greater impact on press freedom. Whether this is the case in Albania is unclear since RSF do not provide country specific analysis.

They do, however, provide general information on the methodology used in compiling the index.


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Welcome to Our Man in Tirana. I moved to Tirana, capital of Albania, in October 2005 and left in October 2007. This blog is a mix of photographs, reports, links, impressions and, undoubtedly, prejudices relating to the city and the country.

Since I am no longer in Tirana I am no longer updating this blog. However, there are over 300 posts covering this two year period and I hope that they are still of some interest.

So if you are curious about Albania or if you are planning to visit I hope this blog will be of value.


And now the end is near
and so i face nanananana...

Never did like that crappy song.

But it's true nevertheless.

Tomorrow in the wee hours of the morning we will be heading for the airport for the last time. I suppose it was too much to expect that I could have kept this going while getting ready to leave. So apologies for the lack of postings over the last weeks. This is post number 380 something so I suppose one post every two days is not a bad average.

There were probably 380 more in my head or scribbled down on scraps of paper, but many of them are perhaps best left there.

I suppose I should be penning - or typing - my final thoughts and reflections on two years in Tirana, but right now I don't have any. Maybe in a month or two though I might come back with something.

Thanks to all of you who have read this blog - especially those of you who have become regulars. Thanks also for linking and thanks to all who left comments.

As for the other stars of the blog, Bella now has her own …

50 Ways to Make Some Money

The death of communism in Albania brought a flourishing market economy to life just as it did across Central Europe and Russia. On the streets of Tirana people are buying and selling, trading goods and services in predictable, or sometimes novel, ways. The shops are the most obvious expression of this. The streets are lined with little stores selling almost everything you could want. Freed from the choking grip of state bureaucracy Albanians are now at liberty to buy whatever they can afford. No matter how absurd the demand, someone will create the supply. Hence the preponderance of shoe stores in this city of muddy streets and torn up footpaths. Especially outlandish is the fashion for high heeled white boots - about as impractical a style of footware as could be imagined. Dotted across the city are the market stalls, sometimes just one person selling bananas, elsewhere a whole street lined with sellers of fresh fruit and vegetables, meat, fish and spices. Those who cannot bring thei…