Surface area: 28,748 sq. km.
Languages: Albanian, Greek
Type of State: unitary republic
Head of State: Rexhep Mejdani
Head of Government: Ilir Meta
Albania offers most of the legal guarantees to protect freedom of expression and opinion, but its media have little money and many newspapers and magazines are mouthpieces of political parties. Private TV and radio stations focus on entertainment programmes rather than news or sensitive topics. The authorities continue to frequently interfere with the work of journalists and the media are subject to direct and indirect pressure through taxes, expensive newsprint and distribution problems. Allocation of air time on public radio and TV between the two main political parties is heavily weighted in favour of the government. The Rom community complains about the lack of support for its newspapers and the bias against them by local authorities.
A journalist attacked
Nikolle Lesi, editor of the newspaper Koha Jonë, was attacked in Tirana on 8 November 2001 by a stranger who threatened him with a gun. Colleagues said the attack was probably to do with controversial articles by Lesi that had appeared in the preceding weeks.