New bilingual media platform to offer English and Albanian election coverage
The Tirana Centre for Journalistic Excellence, a nonprofit organization, officially launched its elections coverage program on May 22 at an event with the participation of representatives from the country’s international community, media and civil society.
TCJE.org’s program, Providing Bias-Free Media Coverage During the 2013 Elections in Albania, will provide its own professional bilingual coverage of the elections and their outcome as part of the center’s focus on providing coverage that strengthens democracy and rule of law in Albania.
The program, which is implemented with the financial support of the Austrian Development Agency, aims to provide and commission professional media coverage that is free of political and commercial pressures often faced by media outlets in Albania.
Aleksander Furxhi, a well known Albanian broadcast journalist and one of the centre’s board members, made the opening remarks, highlighting the key points of the project and what the center does.
Andi Balla, TCJE.org’s executive director, told those attending media is under pressure globally in a new technological age, in which it has yet to find a balance between surviving economically and fulfilling its mission to serve as the society’s watchdog
“Under such climate, media outlets that are not based on a commercial model, are more important than ever, and they need to be supported and fostered. This is particularly important in a young democracy like Albania where media face intense political and commercial pressures that can skew their coverage as well as leave some issues with little or no coverage,” he said.
Astrid Wein, head of the Austrian Coordination Office for Technical Cooperation in Tirana, said Austria assists media projects like TCJE.org’s coverage of the Albanian general elections because they are seen as important to development and democracy in countries in the region.
Discussions at the event noted that elections coverage is seen by all those interested in the Albanian upcoming polls as particularly important, as these elections are seen as a key test of Albania’s progress toward building a consolidated democracy and moving forward with its EU bid.
Providing accurate and impartial information on the process is vital and improves the public’s overall trust in the media, according to TCJE.org. The elections coverage is available at TCJE.org and through the center’s social media channels.