Defamation remains a criminal offence in Albania.
The Albanian Criminal Code foresees the following offences:
Insult (Art. 119): Intentional insult is punishable by a fine of 50,000 to one million lek . When committed in public, insult is punishable by a fine of 50,000 to three million lek.
Libel (Art. 120): Intentionally disseminating statements affecting a person’s honour or dignity with the knowledge that the statements are false. Libel is punishable by a fine of 50,000 to 1,500,000 lek. When committed in the public, the act is punishable by a fine of 50,000 to three million lek.
Criminal Defamation of Public Officials
Insult of judges (Art. 318): Insulting a judge or members of a judicial panel, prosecutor, defence lawyer or member of the arbitration, because of their activity in a case is punishable by a fine or imprisonment of up to three months.
Additional provisions repealed in 2012.
Criminal Defamation of the Head of State
Criminal Defamation of the State and its Symbols
Humiliation of the Republic and its symbols (Art. 268): Intentional damage to the flag or emblem of the Republic, exhibited in public institutions, shall constitute a criminal offence and is punishable by a fine or imprisonment of up to three months. Public humiliation of the flag or national anthem, during an activity organised by state authorities, shall constitute a criminal offence and is punishable by a fine or imprisonment of up to three months.
Criminal Defamation of Foreign Heads of State
Criminal Defamation of Foreign States and Symbols
Criminal Defamation of the Deceased
Criminal Defamation and Media
In February 2012, shortly before amendments on criminal defamation took effect, Gjovalin Prenga, the head of the department of communication in the office of the prime minister, filed criminal libel charges against journalist Lindita Cela of the newspaper Shekuli. The charges were in relation to Cela’s coverage of a list distributed to media containing the names of persons who allegedly collaborated with the Communist-era secret services. Prenga’s name appeared on that list. The charges were dropped in April 2012.
Recent Legal Changes
Law No.23/2012, dated 01 March 2012, brought wide-ranging changes to Albanian defamation law, including the repeal of the following articles:
Art. 229 Insulting acts against the anthem and flag
Art. 227 Insulting representatives of foreign countries
Art. 241 Defamation towards the President of the Republic
Art. 240 Defamation because of duty
Art. 239 Insulting because of duty
In November 2015, following domestic and international criticism, the Albanian government withdrew a draft bill that would have established a criminal provision on “libel against a high state official or elected person”. The penalty had included imprisonment for up to three years.
Notes and Acknowledgements
Information for Albania was originally collected by IPI as part of a study commissioned by the Office of the Representative on Freedom of the Media of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE). It is reprinted here with the permission of the OSCE.
A fully footnoted version of this entry is available in the OSCE study. This entry was last updated in March 2017.
The information contained in this database is for informational and advocacy purposes only. If you are a journalist facing a defamation claim, you should seek legal advice from a qualified attorney. However, if you are unable to find such an attorney, IPI may be able to assist you in doing so. Please contact us at info(at)ipi.media.