Media as stakeholders in fight against corruption

Conclusions of KAS event in Tirana

The findings of a survey on media as stakeholder in the fight against corruption, conducted by Prof. Mark Marku and Dr. Blendi Ceka from the University of Tirana, have been presented at a KAS event in the Albanian capital.

Various renowned journalists, editors, media managers and academics participated in the event and added their own perspectives on the media situation in the country. The survey was conducted amongst 100 journalists in the country as well as 1,000 citizens from Tirana who gave their opinion on the state of the news coverage of corruption in Albania.

Walter Glos, Head of the KAS Tirana office, highlighted that free and independent media are preconditions for strengthening the still fragile democracy in the country. Along with general insights into the relation between media and politics, he presented the activities of his office in Tirana.

Prof. Mark Marku explained that the media do not have enough personal and financial resources at their disposal. Despite the fact that online media appear to be a way out of this situation, he emphasised that turning away from traditional media cannot be a solution for improving the media environment.

Mentor Kikia, journalist and former Editor-in-Chief of Top Channel TV, named the main media issues from his perspective: high concentration of media ownership and dependencies between media, politics and businesses. He showed his concern that the media have been used to close deals in construction and commerce.

Gjergj Erebara, BIRN journalist for the online portal, said that the number of media has increased while the number of journalists has decreased. As stated by Erebara, they are forced to focus on non-investigative topics, because research takes more time and effort. Alfred Lela, Director of "Mapo", added that independent online media should be in the position to plant a culture of fighting against corruption.

Christian Spahr, Head of the KAS Media Program South East Europe, emphasised in his closing remarks on the much needed media pluralism. Quoting a topical survey, he underlined that citizens rate online media as more independent than print media. Spahr said that this was mainly due to the fact that many traditional media cannot comply with their role as an independent observer. "For an independent investigative journalism, alternative media business models are essential," Spahr said. He gave examples of online news outlets, regional media networks and investigative journalism offices in different countries. Spahr concluded that using online platforms in the fight against corruption, the media can better take up their role as a guardian of democracy.

Author: Konstanze Nastarowitz