Journalists of the investigative TV show Fiks Fare were physically attacked on 8th February while filming illegal mining at the Zeze River in Nikel, Fushe Kruje, about 30 km from the capital in Albania.
The journalists’ drone was shot by a weapon and three men with guns stepped forward, pointing the guns at the filming crew just meters away. A masked man then came up to them, trying to take the camera with the footage and physically attacking the film crew while also threatening their lives for more than 30 minutes. Although they managed to escape, they had been waiting for over 50 minutes for the police patrol to intervene.
The President of the Republic of Albania, Mr. Bajram Begaj, in an official announcement strongly condemned this serious act of violence against media workers and said that he fully supports the show “Fiks Fare” in its mission, courage, and professionalism. Also, the Audiovisual Media Authority condemned the attack, stating that it jeopardizes freedom of speech and safety of journalists. The State Police confirmed on 9th February that investigations have started and that the “materials for this case were passed to the Prosecutor’s Office for further action” – according to their official announcement regarding this attack. Two persons have been identified as perpetrators and are now under investigation, but not arrested yet. They have been included in the Police wanted list.
This is not the first attack against Fiks Fare journalists. Back in March 2022, SafeJournalists Network reacted to the attack against the filming crew in Sukth, Durres, by the Ovital company.
“This is one of the most serious cases of actual attacks against journalists and media crews in Albania in recent years. This is an attack by private companies and individuals attempting to cover illegal activity, posing a direct threat to the safety of investigative journalists and their teams that in turn discourages future investigative work by journalists in Albania” – noted Blerjana Bino, SafeJournalists Network researcher in Albania.
SafeJournalists Network strongly condemns the exercise of physical violence that included the use of a firearm to threaten as unacceptable and a serious breach of the safety of journalists and media workers. We ask for a swift investigation, bringing the perpetrators to justice and ensuring safety of journalists while reporting from the field.
SafeJournalists network will inform all relevant national and international stakeholders about this case.
Each attack on journalists is an attack on public interest, democracy and rights of all citizens.
Belgrade – Podgorica – Pristina – Sarajevo – Skopje – Zagreb, 10.02.2023
Association of Journalists of Kosovo
Association of Journalists of Macedonia
BH Journalists Association
Croatian Journalists’ Association
Independent Journalists’ Association of Serbia
Trade Union of Media of Montenegro