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Article 34 of the new constitution, passed in January 2004, provides for freedom of the press and of expression.The May 2004 press law guarantees the right of citizens to obtain information and prohibits censorship.Religious conservatives also targeted the progressive Tolo TV, which had been criticized by clerics for airing programs that "oppose Islam and national values." In May, a popular female television presenter who had worked at Tolo was murdered, possibly by family members who did not approve job, and other program hosts received threats or were forced off the air, according to the Committee to Protect Journalists.Although registration requirements remain in place, authorities have granted more than 250 publications licenses, and several dozen private radio stations and eight television stations are now broadcasting, with the expansion of independent print and broadcast outlets continuing in 2005.The pact, which capped more than two years of negotiations, was considered a key milestone on the path to EU membership, and EU officials said media freedom would be among their priorities as they pressed Albania to make additional structural improvements.The countrys parliament-appointed broadcast regulator, the National Council of Radio and Television (NCRT), continued to face accusations of political influence and incompetence.
Publishers and media owners tend to dictate editorial policy based on political and economic affiliations, which, together with the employment insecurity journalists face, nurtures a culture of self-censorship.In September, an investigative television show aired recorded conversations in which a government official appeared to pressure two nephews of President Alfred Moisiu to convince their uncle to fire the attorney general, whom Berisha has accused of corruption in a politically charged standoff.Albania has 66 private television stations, at least 45 private radio stations, and roughly 200 print publications in circulation.However, it retains broad restrictions on content that is "contrary to the principles of Islam or offensive to other religions and sects" and "matters leading to dishonoring and defaming individuals." The legislation also establishes a government-appointed commission with the power to decide if journalists who contravene the law should face court prosecutions or fines.Critics of the law have alleged that its prohibition of "anti-Islamic" writings is overly vague and has led to considerable confusion within the journalistic community on what constitutes permissible content.
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Algerian courts are subject to government pressure when adjudicating cases of libel and related offenses.