Author: Ilda Londo
Albanian Media Institute
Elvi Fundo, Director of the news portal Citynews.al, and of Radio Best, was beaten by two persons, on March 8, in Tirana. He was briefly hospitalized. Later, Fundo declared on his Facebook page that the assault was “not a political act, but a crime by corrupt media clans, with ties to the drug mafia”.
The assault was immediately condemned by the local and international journalist organizations, as well as by political figures in the country. The Union of Albanian Journalists strongly called down the attack, and considered the violence – “an act against the journalist’s active fight to bring to light corrupt affairs”, and encouraged the State Police to identify the aggressors as soon as possible. The Association of Professional Journalists also immediately denounced the attack, calling on the police to find the responsible persons, so that justice can take its course. The Audiovisual Media Authority, the regulator of audio-visual media, expressed its concern about the attack: “The assault of an active media worker, in a public space, is a saddening development, and should be an alarm to our democracy.”
OSCE Representative for Freedom of the Media, Dunja Mijatovic, condemned the attack and stated: “I trust the authorities will swiftly investigate the attack and bring those responsible to justice”. The Committee for Journalists’ Protection also issued a statement on the attack, saying, among others: “We call upon authorities to consider Fundo’s journalism as a possible motive in the attack, and to bring his attackers to justice, in order to send the clear message that journalists cannot be attacked with impunity”.
The European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) joined the criticism on the attack, expressing its solidarity with the journalist, and called on the police to carry out a swift and thorough investigation, stating that the case was reported to the Council of Europe platform for the safety of journalists.
Several Albanian politicians also immediately and strongly condemned the attack on Fundo. The Prime Minister Edi Rama said he strongly reproved the violent act, called for mobilization, in order to find the perpetrators as soon as possible, and called on the opposition to refrain from politicizing the matter.
The opposition, and other MPs, and party leaders, also expressed solidarity with Fundo. The Minister of Internal Affairs, Sajmir Tahiri, went to visit him to the hospital, guaranteeing him that the police would work hard to investigate and expose the crime.