H. E. Dr. Sali Berisha
President of the Republic of Albania
Office of the President

Vienna, 29 May 1995

The International Press Institute (IPI), is most concerned about the recent decision of authorities in Tirana to restrict the sale of newspapers in the city to approximately 20 state-owned stores.

We are informed that this measure, which was announced on Saturday, 27 May 1995, is scheduled to take effect on Thursday, 1 June, and that the country’s independent and opposition press threaten to cease publishing if the measure is not revoked.

IPI considers the attempt to restrict the sale of newspapers in Tirana to be the latest in a series of measures over the past two years intended to strengthen Government control over the country’s press. In late 1993 Albania’s parliament passed a press law and penal code calling for prison sentences and heavy fines for publishing articles critical of the government. In August 1994 IPI protested the introduction of new taxes on newspapers aimed at exacerbating the already poor financial situation of the independent press in Albania.

IPI, a global network of editors and media executives from newspapers, magazines, broadcasting organisations and news agencies in 85 countries, strongly urges you to ensure that this latest measure is not permitted to come into effect. We further urge your Government to allow the country’s independent press to operate without further fear of economic or political pressure.

We thank you for your attention.

Yours sincerely,

Johann P. Fritz