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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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