Media Monitoring Report 2020 - Hate Speech, Discriminatory Language and Sexist slur

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PRO LGBT teamwise with its media portal Historia Ime, have been inspiring to the younger generations who have dedicated their energy and ideas to perfecting this organization and focusing on raising awareness for the LGBT community. Our staff has given voice to the underrepresented persons in the traditional media. Through ethical reporting by journalists and regular media monitoring, we aim to raise the standards of journalism and bring the human rights cause to the attention of the public. The online media Monitoring Report has been one of the main activities of Pro LGBT, and the novelty of this year with the support of the German Ministry of Foreign Affairs, is the inclusion in this report of visual media. We want this report to serve media professionals and journalists in improving ethical reporting in their daily work.

Author: Emiljano Kaziaj, PhD


Table of Content GENDER REFLECTION IN ALBANIAN PRIME-TIME TELEVISION PROGRAMS Introduction �������������������������������������������������������������������������������4 Summary Of The Key Findings Of The Study �������������������������6 Participation ������������������������������������������������������������������������������8 Treatment ��������������������������������������������������������������������������������9 Opinion- TV Klan �������������������������������������������������������������������12 Observations ��������������������������������������������������������������������12 Open, Eni Vasili, Top Channel ������������������������������������������������19 Observations ��������������������������������������������������������������������20 360 ˚, Artur Zheji, Ora News ��������������������������������������������������29 Observations ������������������������������������������������������������������30 HATE/SEXIST/DISCRIMINATORY SPEECH IN ONLINE MEDIA IN ALBANIA Introduction �����������������������������������������������������������������������������33 Summary of Main Findings �����������������������������������������������������35 Hate Speech ���������������������������������������������������������������������������38 Online Media in Albania ����������������������������������������������������������40 Methodology ������������������������������������������������������������������������43 Monitoring Format ����������������������������������������������������������43 Sampling ��������������������������������������������������������������������������44 Analysis ����������������������������������������������������������������������������44 Study Findings ������������������������������������������������������������������������46 Articles Containing Hate/Sexist/Discriminatory Speech ���46 Groups Most Affected by Discrimination ��������������������������50 Who is ited? ���������������������������������������������������������������������55 Characteristics Of Subjects That Are Victims Of Hate/ Discriminatory Speech In Online Media ���������������������������58 General Characteristics of Articles Containing Hate/ Discriminatory Speech ����������������������������������������������������61 Characteristics of Comments in Articles Containing Hate/ Discriminatory Speech ����������������������������������������������������63 Bibliography ����������������������������������������������������������������������������69




project has considered for analysis three programs that are broadcast in prime-time, in the TV channels Top Channel, Ora News, and TV Klan, respectively: Open, 360 ˚, and Opinion. Two of the programs are hosted by male moderators and one of them is hosted by a female moderator. The monitoring format was unified for all the programs and it focused on measuring and analyzing the following elements: • Participation, in quantitative terms, of men and women in Albanian prime-time TV programs. • Participation, in qualitative terms, of men and women in Albanian prime-time TV programs. • Comparative analysis of the moderators’ approach to male guests and female guests in these programs, based on the questions asked to these two groups and attitudes shown towards them. • Analysis of the discourse of moderators in the program or their guests regarding women in the program, based on their expressions and attitude. The analysis and findings of this study are of major interest because: • They present a clear view of the participation and access of women in Albanian prim-time television programs and characteristics of this participation. 4

• They present a clear view of the existing mindsets for women in Albania, normalized and reinforced by the narrative of these programs. • They describe which topics or fields of the public discourse women are more prone to be involved in Albania. • They identify structural problems of media in Albania, regarding gender issues and treatment of women. They identify and give examples of sexist, objectifying, or homophobic narratives in prime-time programs in Albania. This study, as such, might provide a major assistance to all stakeholders and institutions that work in this area and that are interested in improving the situation. The monitoring was conducting during the time period March- July 2020. For this study, 109 programs were analyzed in total from the three programs under supervision. Before initiating the monitoring process, three monitoring agents engaged in this project were significantly familiarized with the reporting format through a short training session; they analyzed one of the programs as a test experience for further work in monitoring.


Summary Of The Key Findings Of The Study

It is impossible not to notice as a first finding in this study on the

reflection of gender issues in Albanian prime-time television programs the images (logos) of the three monitored programs, which have been used as a design for this study. It is of interest to emphasize the fact that for the two programs hosted by men- Opinion and 360˚, the men appear in the program logo, the way it is presented on the respective television websites and promoted in social media or through other channels of these media. In the meantime, for the program Open, which has a female moderator, the official program logo- the one that appears in Top Channel television programs- there is no image/photography of the moderator. This is an interesting case study which could be further deepened and provide analysis of these respective attitudes. Marketing experts that work in programming sections of televisions choose the program moderators as an image to add reliability to the program and to increase the audience, relying on the success and popularity of program moderator. We do not think that, in Albania, Eni Vasili’s popularity is lower than that of the two male moderators, which is why the choice not to show her in the program logo should be explored beyond to find a reason other than this. One argument could be the perception Albanian society has for men and women and the way society sees these two categories. While men are seen as stronger, more reliable, and more authoritative, women are not perceived in the same way. These two logos showing men in them further reinforce this perception. However, this could very well be the choice of the female moderator, not to be shown on the logo with her image. Even this choice, which at first sight might look like a choice made on her own will, cannot be considered unconditioned by the existing mentality, as described 6

above, on men and women in Albania. In any case, this example is typical of the way media helps- through the choice made on images- in depicting gender roles and reinforcing society’s perception of these roles.

Participation • In total, in the 109 series of the three monitored programs for this study, 912 guests were invited. From them, 665 were men and 247 women. Percentage wise, 73 % of the guests in the monitored programs were men and only 27 %, women. • The lowest participation of women is seen in the program 360˚ whereas the highest in the program Opinion. However, women’s participation is very low in all the programs observed for this study, compared to men. • Women’s participation is bigger in those programs that are considered to have an element of entertainment or social topics, such as the program Opinion. Meanwhile, the other two programs: Open and 360˚ are self-described as programs treating tough political and current news topics. Women’s participation in these two programs is lower. • There is a huge lack in participation of women in programs that are perceived to be treating issues of major political and social interest. • In 14 monitored programs, there is no woman invited in the program, in 21 programs there was only one woman invited as a guest, opposite 4 or more men. • The analysis identified 14 programs which are titled after a man’s name, the man being the guest in the program (e.g.: Edi Rama, Ilir Meta, Sali Berisha, Sandër Lleshaj, Albin Kurti, Maks Velo, Erion 7

Veliaj, etc.). In only one case, one part of one of the programs was titled after a woman (Monika Kryemadhi). However, the space given to the guest in the program is very small compared to the male participants in the same program. • During all the monitoring period, there was not a single guest who could be self-identified as a member of the LGBTI community, or other minority in Albania. Such huge void of the voices and perspectives of members of other minorities is a problematic need that should be addressed promptly in the Albanian media.

Treatment • During the monitoring of the programs, unequal treatment was identified (in the qualitative as well as quantitative aspect), for men and women participating in the program: • Generally, the moderators permit men to speak first, even in cases when there is only one female guest among 4 or 5 men. • Men speak longer and are interrupted less. The opposite is true for women, who are interrupted more often by the moderators as well as by other men on the panel. • Throughout different programs, when there are male and female guests, there is a tendency to give more space to men than to women. This can be seen through two elements: the number of questions directed to the various participants and the time given them to speak. • From the monitoring, it can be noticed that the man who are interviewed are asked mostly for professional issues, or work experience, whereas women who are interviewed (albeit of the same profession as the men) are asked more for their roles as mothers, spouses, or other issues that can be perceived as female issues. 8

• Generally, guests who show up in the studio physically are men (due to restrictions from the pandemic). Women, most of the time, are brought to the studio through Skype connection or other online means. • It is also noted that there is a huge absence of women’s representation and their voice in some of the topics and programs that are perceived as very tough and the presence in the studio is only men. • Program hosts (especially for Opinion) have the tendency to make choices that emphasize divisions of gender roles. Girls and women characters that come mainly from the art and culture world, spaces perceived as linked to the ‘feminine’, are placed opposite men from ‘tougher’ professions. Even when two characters, man and woman, come from similar fields, the way their profession is named seems to set priorities with men. • A tendency like this to divide gender roles as strictly separate is reinforced by the narrative of the moderator or the participants in the program. There is a difference between the nature of questions asked to men guests and the nature of questions asked to women guests. • There is a tendency to normalize mindsets and reinforce the mentality that girls and women are seen as the sole contributors to the housework and they are objectified and are seen as inevitably associated with appearance as their defining characteristic. Such mindsets reinforce sexist attitudes towards girls and women and they understate the role and contribution girls and women might make to society, to some minimum aspect, such as in housework, as it is clearly presented from comments above. • Guests who are girls or women in the monitored programs represent a list of professions which is more limited than that of men invited in the programs. • There is inflation in the use of the title head for professions of men, which is almost never found in the professions of women 9

invited in the studio. • When the term expert is used for men invited in the studio, for women of the same field and profession, the term used is specialist. • There is a tendency to reinforce stereotypes for gender roles, which is noticed in the choice made for participants in the program. • In some programs, there are differences in the titles mentioned for women and for men or for various professions. In some cases, when there are women and men of the same profession in the program, the program moderators choose to address the invited man by the title, whereas the woman of the same profession is addressed by name or no title at all. • Meanwhile, the role of men in the house or the role he must have as head of the family continues to be reinforced by the narrative of the guests in the program. • It seems like the information given by men in the studio has a higher truth value than that given by women.


Opinion- TV Klan

Description (as shown on the program page)

Opinion by Blendi Fevziu. The most watched political program and the preferred program on the Albanian screen. “Opinion” comes with four meetings a week – Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and the traditional meeting of Thursday evening. Every week on the TV Klan studio, with comments, analysis, debate, interviews, characters, testimony, and concrete facts. The most current and most significant events in the political and social life of the country, with debate, opinions, and analysis of guests in the studio. General Information: For this study, 41 series of the program Opinion were monitored, on the following dates: MARCH: 23, 25, 26, 30 APRIL: 1, 2, 6, 7, 8, 9, 13, 14, 15, 16, 20, 21, 22, 23, 27, 28, 29 MAY: 4, 5, 6, 7, 11, 12 13, 14, 18, 21, 26, 27 JUNE: 2, 3 ,4, 8, 9, 10, 11, 15 JULY: 1, 2, 6, 7, 8, 9

Observations From a brief analysis that can be made to the content of the programs, we see that the total number of guests in the program is 376 guests, from whom 231 or 61.5 % are men and 145 or 38.5 %, women. Since the program is one of the most watched in Albania and it treats ‘the most current and most significant events in the political and 11

social life of the country’, the higher percentage of men participating in it compared to women reinforces the previous study findings in this area that contribute to the lack of women’s perspective on the political and social life and an overrepresentation of men. Of the 335 guests to the program during all the monitoring period, there was not a single guest who could self-identify as a member of the LGBTI community, or other minority in Albania. Such huge void of the voices and perspectives of members of other minorities is a problematic need that should be addressed promptly in the Albanian media. Because of the pandemic, there have been restrictions in the country, since March 2020, regarding participation in the studio and in not allowing big groups. There is an interesting fact that, generally, guests in the studio for this program were men, for this period. Women, in most of the cases, were connected with the studio via Skype or other online means. Another fact that reinforces dividing mindsets between men and women in society, giving the former more weight and importance, is the way programs are titled. In at least five cases during this period, programs were named after men, politicians. Here are some examples: • • • • •

Edi Rama on the economic packet Sander Lleshaj Edi Rama on the opening on Monday Sali Berisha/ the theater Edi Rama on the agreement with the opposition

None of the programs transmitted during this period included the name of a woman in its title. This finding is a reflection of the realities in Albanian society and positions women and men respectively have in society. But by reinforcing this reality with the naming of the programs, media, and mainly these kinds of programs that bear a big weight on the public opinion, may give an unavoidable contribution in 12

strengthening and cementing these realities. It is also noted that there is a huge absence of women’s representation and their voice in some of the topics and programs that are perceived as very tough and the presence in the studio is only men. More concretely, in the program on June 4 with the topic: Edi Rama on the political agreement, there are only four men guests and no woman. Almost the same thing happened for another political program, which may be considered as a tough topic, the one on June 8, ‘Elbasan, who shot from the sniper?’, in which 4 men were invited and only one woman (Rudina Hajdari), with the latter not invited to participate in the central discussion that is suggested by the topic of the program. In the same line, there are a series of other programs transmitted during this time where women participants have been in noticeable minority compared to men participants for topics of major social significance and which contribute not only in informing the public but also in transmitting messages regarding gender representation and diversity of viewpoints. Thus, for the topic of April 15, ‘Is the vaccine ready?’ there are 8 men guests and only 2 women guests. For the topic ‘Edi Rama on the economic packet’ dated April 16, there are 6 men guests and only 2 women. For the topic ‘Sali Berisha/the theater’ of May 21, there are 6 men guests and only one woman. It is interesting how even for issues that are not necessarily linked to events within the country, but that try to give a view of the reality of Albanians living abroad, men still are prioritized. Thus, in the program dating April 8, with the topic ‘Albanian scientists around the world’ there are 7 men and 3 women in the program, as representatives of this community, staying faithful to the perception created in the country and reinforcing the mentality that even in this area, gender reports have been normalized the way they reflected in the Albanian reality. Another finding that comes as a choice of program moderators is the way in which characters are put opposite each other in this program. Since most of the participants could 13

not be present in the studio, one detail that should be taken into consideration is the fact that these moderators choose to put on the screen man and women participants. One interesting case study here is the program dating April 22, where among the guests were: the President of the Republic, the Head of emergency at the QSUT (main hospital), the Minister of Infrastructure and Energy, academics, one pastor, two moderators and one actress. In the course of the program, the moderators choose to put on the screen some participants at the same time. The grouping for that part of the program that had more than one interviewee was as follows: • Skënder Brataj (head of emergency)- Bora Zemani (moderator) • Bora Zemani- Akil Pano (pastor) • Blendi Salaj (producer)- Olta Gixhari (actress) As can be noticed from this grouping, female characters come mainly from the world of art and culture, domains perceived as linked to females more than males. Meanwhile, men come from those domains that are perceived as normalized for them, i.e. ‘tougher’ professions. Even when two characters, one female and one male, come from similar fields, e.g. Blendi Salaj- media and Olta Gixhari- theater, both from culture, the way their professions are named seems to give priority to men. Blendi Salaj is referred to as producer, while Bora Zemani, who works in the same field, media, is referred to as moderator. An approach like this, linking men to professions that are perceived as serious, touch, vital for society, etc., and women/girls to professions that are perceived as linked to entertainment, appearance, etc. is more noticeable in the program dating April 29, where participants include: Skender Brataj-head on national emergency, Neritan Ceka-professor, Redi Shehu-researcher, Bashkim Kadriu- neuropsychiatric doctor and opposite them Floriana Garo- presenter and Marina Vjollcamoderator. Such agrouping of participants does nothing but reinforce spaces that are perceived as men’s domain in society and those that are perceived as areas where women may give their contribution. In the same line, the program dating May 6, where there are 14

apposite men from professions like doctor, pundit, economy expert, psychiatrist, writer, etc. women and girls who are invited to come from professions like: moderator (2) and beautician (2). There is nothing wrong with these professions themselves or with the fact that those are professions mainly practiced by girls and women, but when this type of representation is normalized through repetition of the same model on the Albanian screen, there is a big risk that this way of thinking is cemented and seen as natural. This thing would create difficulty for any girl whose wishes, ambition or ability would be for another profession, precisely for those that are perceived as men’s domain, and it would deprive them of further developing what they desire and deserve. A tendency like this to divide gender roles as strictly separate is reinforced by the narrative of the moderator or the participants in the program. If we were to analyze the nature of questions asked to participants, we would see that there is a difference between the nature of questions asked to men guests and the nature of questions asked to women guests. More concretely, in the program dated April 7, with the topic ‘How much longer will we stay in isolation?’, although in the Skype connection the guests are all men and women doctors who work outside of Albania, the moderator starts the conversation with the men guests by emphasizing their skills and credentials, with questions like: • ‘What is your specialty, doctor, and where do you work exactly?’ • How many years in Qatar? • And you are board director of a company that works in the hotel business? etc. For the women guests, although they are of the same profession and same position, the questions do not match their background: • Which city in Norway are you in? 15

• How long have you been staying there? • What measures have been taken about Corona virus? • Are the citizens alarmed? An excellent example of this phenomenon is the introduction given for a woman doctor in the program dated April 9: ‘Miss England, a beautiful 28-year-old girl returned from England, where she was in the medical service of England, to give her contribution. It is this girl here, Miss England 2019, Basha Mukherie she must have Indian origin, she has left behind her charity activity and has returned to the hospital to work as a doctor with her colleagues… A beautiful doctor like this, I don’t know, you would be healed even you had Covid 19’. The same narrative, especially for the division of gender roles, continues to be reinforced during the discussion in the program or comments made by the moderator or the guests. Here are some examples of such cases. Questions by the program host: ‘Does Emina cook, I believe you do the cooking yourself at home?’ ‘ When do women get their hair and make-up done while the hairdresser shops are still closed?’ (Program dated April 1). ‘It appears that men have not had much housework to do, women have taken care of the house by moving around, they have exercised more’ (program dated May 4). ‘Hairdressers must have worked a little illegally, because I see many women going out all made-up, 2 months locked in the house and I see them on TV with styled hair and make-up, I don’t think it was the husband doing their hair at home?’(May 6). ‘In quarantine, where do you have your hair and your make-up done, where do you get all styled, Spain is a little more aggressive in 16

isolation?’ (a question for Olta Gixhari in the program dated April 22). All these comments made by the program host and other comments not reflected here, have not been addressed, opposed or commented on by any of the members of the program or the interviewees. This way of speaking makes a big contribution to the normalization of these mindsets and reinforces the mentality that girls and women are seen as strictly the main contributors in housework and they are objectified and seen as unavoidably linked to appearance (looks) as a defining characteristic for them. Such mindsets reinforce sexist attitudes towards girls and women and diminish the role and contribution they might play in society, to some minimal aspects, such as housework, as can clearly be seen by the comments above. In the same line OF reinforcing this mindset that puts girls and women in restricted position in society, is an expression used by the Prime Minister Edi Rama, in the program dated April 16. He was asked by the journalist ‘will the dental clinics have permission to open?’, to which the Prime Minister responded as follows: ‘What is more certain is that when they open, they will with a defined protocol of appointments, with an agenda, they do work with appointments but without others present, because you know that hairdressers are also the most important newsrooms for unwritten news in Albania, and in this way not only do we contaminate the news but we might also contaminate the world there by touching one another’s hair and saying how beautiful your hair is”.


Open, Eni Vasili, Top Channel Description (as it appears on the program page) “Open”, the arena of television programs for the most important political issues and current situation, interviews with key representatives of the state and more, and treatment of any other sensitive issue for our society. Every big political event, but also the current problems and important social topics receive maximum attention by the “Open” staff to be transmitted afterwards to the public in the most professional way possible. A program by Eni Vasili General Information: 43 Open program series were monitored for this study, respectively dated: MARCH: 24, 25, 26, 30, 31 APRIL: 1, 2, 6, 7, 8, 9, 13, 14, 15, 16, 20, 21, 22, 23 MAY: 4, 5, 6, 7, 11, 12, 13, 18, 19, 20, 21 JUNE: 4, 8, 11, 15, 18, 22, 25, 29 JULY: 2, 6, 9, 13, 16


Observations From a brief analysis that can be made to the content of the programs, it can be seen that the number of total guests in the program is 420, out of whom 340 or 81% are men and 80 or 19%, women. Since the program is hosted by a woman, this rapport is a little surprising regarding the representation of women in the program. From the research literature on the representation of women in the media, it results that one of the factors that affects the low representation of women and girls is that fact that in most of the cases it is men who are in charge of the decision-making processes and they see the processes from their perspective, thus legitimizing this kind of perspective and influencing the way society sees these processes, i.e. from the men’s perspective, most of the time. Meanwhile, in a program hosted by a woman, we would expect that her perspective as a woman would be more present in the decision-making processes for representation in this program, i.e. who is invited and what is being discussed. But, it results that this time the participation of women and girls in the program, and as a result their viewpoints on issues of major interest for society, are limited and in disadvantage compared to boys and men participants. From the 420 guests to the program during all the monitoring period, there was not a single guest who could be self-identified as a member of the LGBTI community, or other minority in Albania. Such huge void of the voices and perspectives of members of other minorities is a problematic need that should be addressed promptly in the Albanian media. In addition to the participation in quantitative terms, it must be said that in quality terms, even though the Open program tries to have a ‘decent’ representation of girls and women that give their contribution to society, there are still some aspects that can be pointed out. The men invited in the studio during this time represent a broad spectrum of professions and fields in Albania1 for example: doctor; Minister of Tourism and Environment; cardiologist; pundit; 1

This is only a summarized selection of professions; the list is much longer


doctor; attorney; Governor of the Bank of Albania; economy expert; businessman; head of Albanian Competition Authority (AK); lawyer; Minister of Diaspora; Kosovo President; state minister for protection of entrepreneurship; head of the chamber of commerce/industry; expert for economic issues; publisher; News24 director; Head of the Chamber of Garment Manufacturers; public health expert; infectious disease doctor; epidemiologist; deputy Prime Minister of North Macedonia; former Minister of Health; financial expert, cardiologist doctor; Minister of Interior; telecommunications engineer; physician, etc. Meanwhile, for the girls and women guests the list of professions is more limited and they come only from some particular fields, for example: Minister of Health and Social Protection; journalist; surgeon; mayor of Shkodra; IPH Director; doctor/professor; specialist for the financial sector; Minister of Finance; Entrepreneur; manufacturer; doctor; head of the epidemiological service and health care, et. It is well-understood that such a choice is very limited by the circumstances and the context when this monitoring was conductedthat the majority of programs were dedicated to the pandemic and the corona virus situation of Covid-19. However, it is not difficult to notice that from the list of the professions of men invited in the studio during this time, there are some professions which are not at all represented in the list of women and girls participating in the program, for example: publisher, cardiologist, engineer, physician, etc. In addition, there is inflation in the use of the title head for the professions of men which is not found almost at all in the professions of women invited in the studio. When for the men invited in the studio the term expert is used, for women who are probably of the same field and profession the term specialist is used. Another fact that reinforces the mindset of division between men and women in society, giving the former more weight and importance, is 20

the way programs are titled. In at least six cases during this period, the titles of programs or sections of programs included names of men, politicians. Some of them were: • • • • • •

Ilir Meta Meta trajectory Debate after the fall of Albin Kurti Homage for Maks Velon Erion Veliaj Edi Rama/Hoti government

Only one of the programs had been titled after a woman politician: Monika Kryemadhi. In the meantime, the analysis of the title of a program dedicated to corona virus is of interest. The title was ‘An Albanian (female) in the American study for remdesivir’. As we see from the depiction, the choice of words gives importance to nationality as a defining element, leaving the fact that it was a woman second and not mentioning the person at all. This is an element that results from what is perceived to be valued most by the audience. There is a huge lack in the representation of women and their voices in some of the topics and programs that are perceived as very strong and there are only men in the studio. Here are, more concretely, the programs with the following topics: • Reopening, how is it working?/ Did the consensus for the election reform fail?/ DP condition, transitory government/ USA- China clash (no woman) • Is the corona virus leaving?/ Medical cannabis, fear or possibility?/ Election reform. Is there political will?/ (9 guests were men, no woman) • Should all the municipalities be green?/ Will we go to the beach this year?/ The cannabis scale (8 guests invited were men, no woman). • The demolition of the theater (6 men, no woman) 21

• The unexpected turn of Covid-19/ Tourism, a delay that costs (6 men, no woman) • How did we fare with Covid-19?/ Are the government packets enough? (12 men, no woman) • Edi Rama/Hoti government (3 men, no woman) • Open or closed lists? (5 men, no woman) • Hidden actions of the new opposition (6 men, no woman) • 15 integration conditions/ The American invitation for Kosovo (5 men, no woman) For some of these topics which focus on the way society was experiencing facing the pandemic, you get the impression that it is only men that are going through a very severe situation. When we ask ‘How did we fare with COVID-19?’ and we invite only men in the studio to speak about this topic, we will definitely miss the perspectives of girls and women, not to mention more vulnerable categories within this broad category, such as might be violated girls and women, single mothers, etc. By not voicing their problems, we will be missing the solutions and awareness on these problems. In the same line are a series of other programs broadcast during this period where women participants have been in noticeable minority compared to the men participants for topics which have a big importance for society and give a contribution not only in informing the public but also in transmitting messages regarding gender representation and diversity of viewpoints. So for the following topics: • The theater pulls down the reforms as well?/ The Danish system stirs the politics? (7 men and one woman) • Is the corona virus leaving?/ Medical cannabis, fear or possibility?/ Election reform. Is there a political will?/ (9 guests were men, one woman). During various program, when there are men and women guests, there is a tendency to give more space to men participants than women. This can be seen in two elements: 22

the number of questions directed to the different participants and the time given at their disposal to speak. One example of this might be the program dated April 2 with the title ‘Is the crises normalizing?’ where one of the participants is the Minister of Health and Social Protection.The Minister is asked a total of 7 questions, while the Governor of the Bank of Albania who might be the character with the highest political profile, after the Minister, is asked 14 questions – twice as many. In this program, there is an interesting fact that the two other women that were participants in the program are asked 5 questions in total, while the number of questions asked to men participants (not counting the questions asked to the governor) is 51, that is 10-times more. The same behavior is noticeable in other programs. Even though in the program dated May 4, the name of a woman constitutes part of the program title, the space dedicated to her is very small, with only 6 questions. In the program dated April 8, with the title ‘Are masks needed?/ Are we risking an economic collapse’, there are 14 men guests and only one woman. 11 of the men guests are doctors, and the only woman among the guests is a doctor. In total, the male doctors are asked 39 questions whereas the woman guest is asked only 2 questions. The same tendency is repeated even in the programs of April 14 and 16. In the program of April 22, with the title ‘Kruja, a hotbed’, even though the program is about a manufacturing enterprise which employs mostly women, in the program there are 7 men and two women to speak about the topic. The men are all businessmen, while the women are representatives of the ministry of health and one journalist. One employee (female) from the manufacture is also interviewed anonymously, her face is not shown and no information is given on her. Another interesting case to notice the difference in the participation of women is the program dated March 23, where the majority of men are physically present in the studio and the only female guest is via 23

Skype connection. There is a difference in the nature of questions asked the men and women guests. So, in the program dated April 2 with the topic ‘Politics in corona times’ the men invited are asked about politics, different political actors, situation, etc. The only woman invited in the program is given limited space and is asked for a limited range of issues. There is a tendency in strengthening stereotypes on gender roles, which is noticeable on the choice of participants in the program. In the May 7 program with the topic ‘When will we go back to normal?/ Britain, the first in Europe on Covid deaths/ Homage for Maks Velo/ DP, small business in danger/ Protests in the time of Covid-19/ Businesses: Can we afford the opening protocols’, there are two women who are presented as make-up artist and showgirl (owner of a beauty center) business. The same narrative, especially on the division of gender roles, is being reinforced during discussions in programs or comments made by the host or the guests. Find below some examples of such cases. In the program of April 9, one of the guests on the online panel stated that “in that post where I was asking for a seamstress, I asked for help with ironing, I asked for help to cut all this wire, I thought I would be helped by a man but what I saw was a strong woman, with muscles and she is cutting my iron.” Even though at first sight such a statement seems to be in favor of women and it challenges al the existing mindsets for them in society, it in fact presents some problems regarding gender roles. First, it assumes that some professions are only for women, for example: seamstress, ironing, etc. while some other professions that require added physical strength are only for men. Getting out of this equation, like the case here presented by the guest, is an exception and for this reason, it causes laughter among participants in the program. The fact that a woman might be able to 24

work as a metal worker becomes joke material. The same tendency of reinforcing gender roles is noticed in the April 13 program, where one of the guests, entrepreneur in a manufacturing plant, states that “85% of the employees in the manufacture are female and they cannot work in a construction company”. The tendency to reinforce gender roles, especially the ones regarding care within the household walls or for the children, can be noticed in the March 26 program where one of the guests is asked about children and caring about them, and he responds ‘Iliriana (the wife) can answer because she covers this part’. In some programs, there are differences in the titles mentioned for women and for men or for various professions. In some cases, when there are women and men of the same profession in the program, the program host chooses to address the invited man by the term doctor, whereas the woman (of the same profession, doctor) is addressed simply by name (March 23 program). The same approach can be seen in another program, dated March 30, where the guests are two professors, from whom the man was introduced with that title (professor), while the invited woman, although she was a professor holding academic titles (postdoctoral researcher), was introduced simply as a psychologist. In the March 31 program, one of the guests makes a ‘catchy’ comment, with an explicit homophobic remark, and the program host does nothing to object it, neither does any other of the guests in the program. The statement by Spartak Ngjela “but we will gain something, because the man kissing man, here we cannot say that this is a good habit”, is received with laughter by the audience and the program host. In the May 19 program, one of the expressions of one of the program guests “I am really sorry about your cynical attitude as a citizen and as a woman”, shows one of the existing mindsets in Albania where 25

society has different expectations for the reaction of women than that of men. While men may be allowed and it is acceptable for them to be cynical, to have strong opinions, to openly express what they think, for women this is considered as something unusual. Meanwhile the difference made by the guest with the expression as a citizen and as a woman, assumes that these two categories are separate and seen as two different things. Meanwhile, the man’s role inside the house or the role he must have as head of the family is reinforced by the narrative of the program guests. More concretely, in the May 21 program, one of the guests says: “Is Sander Lleshaj owner of Albania? Let him be owner of his own house first, because there they do not recognize him as such”. This was said by a woman and as such it is twice as problematic because it shows that even women see the hierarchy of the positions between men and women in the family as normal, which favors men at all times. Meanwhile, leaving aside the real person who is mentioned in the program, the expression is problematic because it unfolds a highly problematic mindset in Albania, in which the man is not only seen as head of the family and the decision-making person, but he is also ‘the owner’ of the family. This puts the other members, be they the wife, family member, or children in a property position, which has consequences for the way other family members and their rights are treated. A difference is noted in the type of questions asked female guests, different from those asked male guests. For women questions tend to be more emotional or linked with the ‘feminine’ side. Examples of this can be found in the March 25 program: • How are you experiencing this situation when the numbers coming from London are not good at all? • You are actually providing psychological assistance. • I am curious about what people look for? (etc.) Meanwhile, it seems like the information given by men in the 26

studio has bigger value of truth than that given by women. There is an interesting case in the March 24 program, where the host has asked first a woman guest who is a doctor by profession, and proceeds with asking the same question ‘How many testings are done in a day or in a week?’ later to a man guest. He is obliged to answer ‘As my colleague also said...”.


360 ˚, Artur Zheji, Ora News Description (as shown in the program page) Polemic, reflection, investigation, debate, hidden and unsaid truths in the studio with the well-known journalist Artur Zheji. The program is broadcast every Monday and Thursday at 21:00 in RTV Ora. Zheji’s programs are distinguished for the strong debate and the sharp political and social topics which put in focus the most important events and the unsolved deadlock of Albanian society. General information: 19 programs 360 ˚ were monitored for this study March: 2, 5, 30 April: 2, 6, 16, 20 June: 1, 4, 8, 15, 18, 23, 26 July: 2, 6, 9, 13, 16 Topics that were treated in the program (as they appear in the titles during each program): • • • • • •

Ilir Meta’s outburst Dictatorship or democracy? The virus that is kneeling down the World! Corona or the killer of the beginning of the century How long and in what way will this plague continue?! The new global conspiracy? What about Albania? (7 males, one female) • Life won? Corona is being kicked away? • Corona connection: Where is the limit to using Police • Corona connection: The new Law: They want to overthrow DP-SP 28

• • • •

Who is going to vote the Election reform? Corona Virus = War and Dictatorship Who got the Budina brothers ‘sick’? Etc...

Observations From a brief analysis that can be done to the contents of the programs, we see that there have been in total 116 guest, from whom 94 or 81 % are men and only 22 or 19 % women. There is a deep misbalance in the representation of girls and women in this program, which is even more problematic regarding the language used in the program, where often the debate among guests degenerates into insulting language and terms that do not respect any of the guidelines for ethics in television programs or even in public debates. Of the 68 guests, during all the monitoring period, there was not a single guest who could be self-identified as a member of the LGBTI community, or other minority in Albania. Such huge void of the voices and perspectives of members of other minorities is a problematic need that should be addressed promptly in the Albanian media. From a brief analysis of the participation of guests in the program, we see that in 3 of the programs there is no woman guest while in most of the programs there is only one women guest placed opposite 4 or more men. If we take into consideration some of the topics of the program which are supposed to treat topics of importance for the Albanian society and reality, it can be concluded that the women and girls’ perspective is completely missing on these topics. As it was noticed in the programs treated in this study above, in this program as well there is a case when one of the titles of the program is named after a man, the President of the Republic. There is no program named after a woman. Since the content of the program and the narrative of the program’s 29

host and the guests are highly problematic, not respecting any guidelines for ethics in television programs, it is not preferred to make a significant analysis of the way in which gender issues, specifically, are treated in this program, as this would be meaningless. However, we will present a summary of some of the expressions and statements made in the program, as they were expressed by the guests or the host of this program. In the summary below, there is evidence of homophobic expressions, dividing language, speech that supports and promotes violence, etc. April 2 program: • The guest (Lawyer): Now you are responding like the man who hadn’t had sex with his wife for 6 months and he had it from behind! • The host: Let’s not use sexual and vulgar language • The other guest (Lawyer)’: Look how Syriza happened in Greece, what was Syriza! Do you know what the Greek press has written about Tsipras? The dirtiest words, stupid, a beautiful boy that wants to be sold etcetera etcetera • The host: He was handsome but not gay! March 2 program: Excerpt from the reaction with an editorial by the program host, who was prompted by an occurrence transmitted in another program, about the sexual harassment of a little girl by her teacher. -… When I read that there are some school teachers, some garbage that do not deserve to live on this earth, that speak with and flirt and take advantage of their students, as if they were prostitutes, I shudder and it makes my blood boil. How can such a filthy unpunished creature sneak like snakes in the pores of our seriously sick society? How is it possible that there are such perverse teachers that misuse their students, little girls, and who are not dragged, spat on in public, and tied to the shame poles? How is it possible that the parents in those schools, who have trusted them the light of their eye, do not get revolted and come together? Is there any 30

moral code left in this society of whores and whoremongers of all levels, from up down to down up? Or was the moral of Albanians a fabricated tale of the past, today a desecrated significance from the pornography of the miserable that have built their nests in the sick brains of this society without dignity? … March 5 program (What one of the guests states about one of the women guests) • To share an argument of hers, a mediocre who discusses here. I was not told she would be at this table otherwise I would not have come I was told that it is XXX and I said yes, but when I am told a person from the tribune from the street comes here and will debate with me, here I say Stop. There is no ordinary man to this day to put me to move, filthy ones you jump in the air and do whatever you want! April 6 program The debate between the two guests, one in the studio and the other through online connection that was presented as news in some online media, immediately after this episode: • …Who cares that you are a scientist XXX XXXX? • Why the anger? • Where I play, all your kin, all your ancestors should come out of the grave, go f... yourself and don’t bring me these morons on TV. • You stupid one, stupid! • I had one Enver Hoxha and he fucked my ass. • Without that shit of a diploma that he has and second you are muggings, you Koci i Ollges (reference to Albanian movie, translator’s note) what the hell are you! • You are moron you know how many scientists are there on the streets like you? In the June 1 program, the host addresses one of the guests in the program, in the form of a compliment, as follows: • Mr.Beto you are the example of aggressiveness and masculine sexual violence from which… 31

(II) HATE/SEXIST/DISCRIMINATORY SPEECH IN ONLINE MEDIA IN ALBANIA Introduction The Report ‘Hate and discriminatory speech in online media in Albania’ presents findings from the monitoring process of three online media, focusing on the content of hate, sexist, and discriminatory speech. In the framework of this project, the online media:,, and Balkanweb were monitored during the time period March 15 – August 31, 2020. The first factor for the selection was their popularity in Albania. Based on current data of the webpage Alexa2 (last checked in September 2020), Balkanweb,, and were rated respectively in the positions 6, 7 and 34 of the list of 50 top sites (most clicked) pages in Albania. In this monitoring project, all the sections of the above-mentioned three online media were observed. The aim of this project is to identify hate speech and discriminatory speech in online media, focusing on the: • Forms in which hate/discriminatory speech is expressed, • Most affected Groups from the hate/discriminatory speech, • Topics in which hate/discriminatory speech is most used, • Characteristics of news that include hate speech in their content (headlines, authors, etc.), • Characteristics of persons or groups that are victims of hate speech, 2


• Reaction of the audience (readers’ comments) in articles that contain hate/discriminatory speech. We hope that findings presented in this study are valuable for a series of institutions and stakeholders in Albania, those that have a role in advancing human rights and protection from discrimination for all groups in need. Firstly, we hope that the findings of this monitoring will help leaders and professional people of the online media in Albania – journalists – to have a better understanding of the impact of their daily work in establishing social realities for a number of groups in need such as women, LGBTI community, emigrants, etc. In addition, we hope that by identifying some approaches of online media professionals, especially regarding ways of selecting news that contain hate or discriminatory speech, we will enhance their awareness for improving these practices, increasing the quality of information provided, and avoiding the use of hate or discriminatory speech in the media. Secondly, we hope that this report gives a clearer overview to the Albanian institutions that deal directly with issues of the media and protection of human rights, such as the Commissioner for Protection from Discrimination, the People’s Advocate (Ombudsman), or the Audiovisual Media Authority (AMA). This monitoring findings might help these institutions to have evidence in improving conditions for depicting groups in need in the media or for focusing their attempts on those groups that have been identified in this study as the most affected groups by the hate/discriminatory speech. Thirdly, this report might help all non-governmental organizations which, in their work, emphasize protection of the rights of groups in need. Lastly, this report aims to raise awareness of the public and frequent users of online media by increasing knowledge on issues of hate and discriminatory speech in the media and by equipping them with concrete skills on how to distinguish and avoid hate speech in the media. For this purpose, the language used in this report will be comprehensible and practical for all readers. 33

Summary of Main Findings • 293 articles monitored in three online media, contain hate/sexist/ discriminatory speech (the 2018 monitoring identified 212 articles in 4 online media). • There is a considerable increase in the number of articles containing sexist language, in all of the monitored media. • The section with the highest percentage of use of hate/sexist/ discriminatory speech is the Entertainment section- 27.6%. • The second category of articles that contain more sexist/ discriminatory hate speech content is the Curiosity section- 24.9 %. • Both these categories include news on showbiz characters- mainly models- and display frequent use of photos and sensational headlines, focusing on objectifying characters and sexualizing the media content. • The third section with the highest use of hate/discriminatory speech is Politics/Law/Governance- 15.1 %. • Most of the hate speech for this category is found in the readers’ comments, ‘prompted’ by the way headlines are phrased and news that include key figures of Albanian politics. • Women comprise the biggest group affected by hate/sexist/ discriminatory speech with 68.9 % of the articles. The percentage of articles containing sexist and discriminatory speech used against women in online media has doubled from the previous monitoring project (2018- articles for women made up 38% of all the articles). • The language used toward women in the media, in most of the cases, refers to objectifying and sexualizing them, emphasizing the photos and using sensational headlines of implicitly sexual nature (for 34

examples in this study see page 18) • Hate/discriminatory speech against women in the media refers in most cases to a characteristic of women or the group, i.e. it affects women as a social group and not just them as particular persons. • The second most affected group by hate speech in Albanian media are Albanians themselves - %. • Most of the hate speech against Albanians is received in the form of readers’ comments in various articles, where commenters express hate speech against one another or against Albanians from Kosovo, while identifying ‘the other’ with a group of different national, social, economic, etc. background. • Meanwhile, the LGBTI community is targeted with hate/discriminatory speech in 2.7% of the articles. Here also, most of the hate speech appears in the readers’ comments even when the news has nothing to do with this community, using words like: pederast; fagot, etc., to denigrate public figures. • In the news with hate speech used against the LGBTI community, almost all articles or the hate speech specifically refer to gay persons. • The most cited for the use of hate speech in online media are journalists who fabricate news about showbiz characters and commenters who comment at the bottom of the news piece. • Only 1 case from the 293 articles in total has one source in the news that opposes hate speech. The source that opposes is the person directly affected by the hate/discriminatory speech and the contention is not an official statement but rather a post in social media. • The age group most affected by hate/discriminatory speech varies by gender. For women, the most affected age group is between 19-25 years old. 35

• The categories of hate speech most used in online media appear to be: • - Dehumanizing metaphors • - Language that supports and promotes violence • - Dividing language • In 190 articles, there are some elements that allow identification of victims of hate/sexist/discriminatory speech (such as name, last name, photo, age, etc.). In 46 articles the name and last name are included • In 243 articles, there are real photos of the people targeted by hate, sexist, discriminatory speech. • In 204 articles, there is use of hate/sexist/discriminatory speech in the headline. • Only 17 articles from 293 in total include the author of the article. • All articles with hate/discriminatory speech, which include comments, display use of hate speech in the comments. • All the comments with use of hate/discriminatory speech are not deleted- are in the same condition- some days after the posting.


Hate Speech The term Hate Speech is relatively new in the international legislation. It is mentioned explicitly only in some cases. One of these cases includes the Recommendation (97) 20 of the Committee of Ministers to the member states of the Council of Europe, which was adopted on October 30, 1997. In this document, hate speech is defined as: ‌ language covering all forms of expression which spread, incite, promote or justify racial hatred, xenophobia, anti-Semitism or other forms of hatred based on intolerance, including: intolerance expressed by aggressive nationalism and ethnocentrism, discrimination and hostility against minorities, migrants and people of immigrant origin. As defined here, hate speech refers more to issues of race, ethnicity, and intolerance toward various groups. The same thing is true even in other legal documents, such as the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), which is seen by many stakeholders as one of the most important and significant documents regarding hate speech (Gagliardone, 2015) since it includes article 19, with a special focus on the right of expression. This article emphasizes that: Everyone shall have the right to freedom of expression; this right shall include freedom to seek, receive and impart information and ideas of all kinds, regardless of frontiers, either orally, in writing or in print, in the form of art, or through any other media of his choice. In item 20/2 of this article, it is stated that: Any advocacy of national, racial or religious hatred that constitutes incitement to discrimination, hostility or violence shall be prohibited by law. Even in this document, race, nationality, or religion are the only categories that are identified as categories or subjects for hate speech. Other social categories are neither mentioned nor addressed directly in this 37

important document. One of these categories would be gender (see Bartow, 2009). It must be stated that even international legal mechanisms focusing on women- like the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW)- do not mention hate speech explicitly. “Meanwhile, hate speech continues to be used broadly in the daily discourse like a common term …’ (Gagliardone et al., 2015:7). A series of research projects on women and media have made an appeal for added attention to sexist language in the media and the need to categorize it as hate speech (see Simona et al, 2019; Bartow 2009; Lillian, 2007). Other research projects have strived to present quantitative and qualitative evidence of harassment made to girls and women in social media (see Erjavec & Kovacic 2012). In Albania, in the framework of this project implemented during 2018, for the first time a study with quarterly data was drafted on hate speech in online media in Albania (see Kaziaj, 2018). In most cases, compiling such a study presents huge difficulties (Bartow, 2009). This is related to the fact that there is not a widely accepted definition on hate speech. Moreover, there is no agreement at the international level on the criteria which a text or expression must meet in order to be categorized as hate speech. As Stellar states “taking into consideration these difficulties, the work does not start with the definition but with concrete examples” (Sellars, 2016:15).


Online Media in Albania According to the Electronic and Postal Communications Authority (AKEP) in Albania, in 2017 there were 2.16 million subscribers with internet access. Based on the most recent Census, conducted in 2011, the population of Albania was 2.8 million inhabitants, divided into 722,262 families3. This high figure of access to the internet has contributed to the increasing number of online reporting channels in Albania, or those that are otherwise called online media. According to a report of the Media Ownership Monitor for Albania4, in Albania there are more than 650 news websites that operate online. Only 62 of them are managed by journalists- a fact which casts doubts about the quality provided by these ‘media’ forms. This huge presence of online media in such a small country might become a factor for reinforcing hate speech online, taking into consideration the fact that in Albania- like in other countries- there is lack of appropriate mechanism to monitor and address the content of online media. Hate speech by explicit definition has not yet become part of the Albanian legislation. On the other hand, discrimination is subject to Law No. 10 221 ‘On Protection from Discrimination’ adopted in 2010. In this law, discrimination is defined as follows: “Discrimination” is every distinction, exclusion, limitation or preference because of any cause mentioned in Article 1 of this law [gender, race, color, ethnicity, language, gender identity, sexual orientation, political, religious or philosophical beliefs, economic, educational or social situation, pregnancy, parentage, parental responsibility, age, genetic predispositions, restricted ability, affiliation with a particular group or any other reason], that has as a purpose or a consequence the hindering or making impossible the exercise, in the same manner as with others, of 3 This is the most recent Census conducted in our country. The next Census has been scheduled for this year, but the results have not been delivered yet. 4 The Report can be found here:


the fundamental rights and freedoms recognized by the Constitution of the Republic of Albania, with international acts ratified by the Republic of Albania as well as with the laws in force. In addition, Article 265 of the Criminal Code states: “Inciting hate or disputes on the grounds of race, ethnicity, religion or sexual orientation, as well as intentional preparation, dissemination or preservation for purposes of distributing writings with such content, by any means or forms, shall be punishable by imprisonment of from two to ten years.” The expression ‘…writings with such content, by any means or forms…’ might be considered as inclusive of online media as well, but to this date there has not been any public case of using these articles against the media (Londo, 2014). What is perhaps the most relevant policy to be mentioned here and that concerns discrimination of women is the Law on Gender Equality in Albania5, adopted in 2008. Article 26 of this law, which refers to gender equality in the media, provides that: The Media helps in increasing the general awareness of equality between women and men by: a) not discriminating on a gender basis on its reporting; b) by applying gender-neutral terminology; c) by avoiding gender stereotypes throughout its activities. 2. Broadcasting, printing and publication of information and material that contains or implies differences that are humiliating or disparaging on the basis of gender, or that display exclusive or offensive attitudes towards either gender shall be prohibited. Just like in other legislation, here also the term media has not clearly been defined as to whether it includes online media. However, Article 26/2 is highly important in this case because it addresses hate speech against women, in the media. Since most of the content in online media is plagiarism from traditional media, mainly the visual ones, in Albaniabased also on the reporting from Media Ownership Monitor (2019), this article indirectly addresses the issue. 5


As depicted in the reports on media in Albania (see Londo, 2014; Dizdari, 2013) there is no mechanism to address hate speech in the media. Moreover, in a report written on this topic, Londo (2014) describes some cases which have been referred to and handled by the Commissioner for Protection from Discrimination- which is the responsible institution for monitoring and implementing the law on protection from discrimination, cited above. None of these cases concerns the issue of women’s rights or gender discrimination issues (read pages 25 and 26 of the report cited). Studies and research on media in Albania or topics like hate speech are mostly focused on traditional media, like television6.This is also due to the fact that audiovisual media are subject to control by the Albanian Media Authority. Online media has been left aside in these studies. However, the increasing reputation and impact of online media in Albania, especially in the last few years, and the ongoing debate on the need to regulate this media sector, require prioritizing the need to explore journalistic practices in these media and shedding light on the influence they have on reinforcing hate or discriminatory speech, as a measure to draft policies and effective monitoring means to address such a serious issue.



Methodology Monitoring Format The monitoring format and the coding of terms used in this study were designed specifically for online media in Albania. The basis for drafting this format7 was taken from the format used by the author of this report for monitoring news on children’s issues on Albanian media, as part of his doctorate study project conducted at the University of Ghent in Belgium (2013-2016) (see Kaziaj, 2018, 2017, 2016). The format was furthermore enriched with elements from previous formats used by Historia ime (My Story) with the aim of monitoring media in Albania. The monitoring format comprises four main parts.The first part includes basic information about the media and characteristics of the article being monitored (media, date, title/headline, section, topic, etc.). The second part includes general elements and characteristics on persons/groups that are victims of the hate speech and items/individuals cited in the article. The third part includes detailed elements on subjects who are victims of hate speech (gender, age, group, stand taken in the news, identifying elements, etc.). And the last part- which comes as a new element of online media monitoring- includes an analysis of comments by readers. Before initiation of the monitoring process, the expert of this project conducted a one-day training for the monitoring agents: Edlira Mara,Alba Ahmetaj and Ajtena Muraku, so that they could learn the monitoring process. In addition, the monitoring agents went through a probation period of one week during which they were able to put in practice their knowledge of monitoring and to clarify problem issues.

7 The monitoring format can be obtained with permission upon request to the electronic email address:


Sampling The articles included in this study met one or some of the following criteria: include use of hate speech in the headline, include use of hate speech in the content of the article, include use of hate speech in the photos or videos that accompany the article, include use of hate speech in comments that accompany the article. Based on this selection and on findings from previous monitoring projects conducted for this purpose, (see reports of monitoring findings from publications by “Historia Ime”, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018) this study focuses on the use of hate speech, particularly for the following categories, in Albania: □ Women □ Children □ Roma Community □ Egyptian Community □ LGBTI Community □ Emigrants □ Religious communities/beliefs □ People with disabilities □ Ethnic minorities

Analysis To analyze the data gathered through the monitoring process, a combination of qualitative and quantitative analysis was used. Quantitative findings were further enriched with qualitative analysis of the data focusing on the concrete examples from news in online media. In this study, data analysis has been conducted through the method of analyzing the media content, as suggested by Krippendorff (2004). According to him, “researchers who use content analysis (media) should 43

observe if communication practices bring new approaches, reinforce what is already known, through repetition, or diminish approaches in communication by not making them visible� (p. 72). In the case of hate speech in online media, the choice to use quantitative and qualitative methods in analyzing media content offers a very good possibility to observe and discover which narrative constructs are more frequently used in online media as hate speech and which groups are the most affected by it. Furthermore, having quantitative data makes it possible to compare online media among themselves and to see if there is any essential difference in the way these media provide the information. In the analysis, some emphasis will be placed on the journalist or author of the news. According to Krippendorf, (2004) the characteristics vested on a particular group in the media, or the way they are addressed, shows, among other things, opinions held about this group by the news producers, news consumers, or their opinion jointly, which has been formulated strongly in a particular culture. Thus, hate speech use in online media can be seen as a sign of the existence of discrimination in society for those groups that are more often victims of hate speech. In the same line, Richardson (2007:49) states that “the way that various social stakeholders are labeled in the media shows not only the group to which they belong but also the relationship that exists between those who are labeled and those who do the labeling�. For the quantitative aspect of the analysis, the statics program used was SPSS Statistics 21.


Study Findings Articles Containing Hate/Sexist/Discriminatory Speech In this study, all articles published in the online media:, Balkanweb. com, and have been monitored. 293 from these articles were selected for analysis as articles containing hate/sexist/discriminatory speech, based on the description provided in the methodology section of this study. This number, as we will analyze further down, indicates a decrease in the use of hate speech in online media in Albania, compared to studies conducted earlier for this purpose, but an increase in the number of articles containing sexist and discriminatory language, especially for women, in Albania. However, the number of articles, as presented in graph 1.1, must be considered a concerning figure regarding the quality of online media in our country.

Graph 1.1


Graph 1.1 presents articles containing hate/sexist/discriminatory speech for the online media that were monitored. Based on this graph, the medium that has more articles containing hate speech is As explained in further findings, the fact that this medium pays special attention to the showbiz and lifestyle sections, oriented toward scandals of the so-called VIPs, and availability of the comment option to the readers, make for the two main factors that influence the increase of content of hate speech in the news.

Graph 1.2 As seen in graph 1.2, three categories have the highest percentage of content with hate/sexist/discriminatory speech: Entertainment27.6%; Curiosities- 24.9 % and Politics/Governance/Law- 18.1%. The section with the highest percentage, Entertainment- 27.6%, is a new finding, compared to previous reports which have found Art, Media, Culture as the section with most articles containing hate speech. However, in this section there are many news items that have been ‘fabricated’ by the journalists that write about this category, or the showbiz characters 46

themselves, with the aim of making ‘news’. Interested in attracting more readers and commenters, they use headlines in the news that contain terms of hate speech/sexist or discriminatory language, fabricated by journalists in the format of a news article. The details are then copied and shared in the social media of the characters themselves. Here are some examples of such news: ‘Who is unlocking Eva Padlock?’-, 09.06.2020 ‘Take them off altogether. Franceska appears in underwear leaving no room to imagination’- Balkanweb, 02.07.2020 ‘Albanian singer provokes followers with this image, 27.05.2020 ‘Without bras and hands in ...Era Istrefi in sex poses’- Balkanweb, 03.08.2020 ‘Arbenita stirs the imagination, publishing photos of her lower body’-, 28.08.2020 Such articles, taken from online media accounts of these figures and provided by online media are found in the same form in some of the monitored media. The explanation is that such articles serve as catalyst to catch the audience’s attention to click on these news; they are easily fabricated (copy-paste from online media) and since most of them have no identified author by name and last name (not even initials in most cases), they are easy to copy and be offered to a series of online media. The second group of articles that have more content of hate speech are those under Curiosities. This category has the same characteristics of news as the category of Entertainment, with the only difference being its name across different media. Here are some examples of these news items: ‘On vacation, Erza advertises her breast’-, 31.-8.2020 ‘Jessica becomes dangerous, look at where she put the gun’, 17.08.2020 ‘Russian sexbomb badly stirs imagination of her followers’- Balkanweb, 01.07.2020 ‘The dress shows a very sexy Ana’-, 10.07.2020 ‘Here’s what Miss Boo put in her pussy’-, 15.07.2020 47

The third section with the highest content of hate/discriminatory speech is Politics/Governance/Law. This is true particularly for the online media, which in addition to lifestyle or showbiz news, includes a series of opinions that contain hate speech. Moreover, this category includes articles that have comments with such content as articles containing hate/sexist/discriminatory speech. Since there are some articles mentioning the prime minister, the president, or leaders of the opposing party, this mention serves as a teaser for a flow of comments containing hate/sexist/discriminatory speech, which also affects the large number of articles in this category.The way headlines are written in these articles plays an important role in attracting the public to comment on them. It must further be explored if the media themselves have a role in writing such comments containing hate/sexist/discriminatory speech. Here are some examples of articles in this category: ‘If we had normal elections, we would have 30 Voltana-s’-, 18.04.2020 ‘Opposition vultures without the beak, in coronavirus times’,-, 20.04.2020 ‘Those living in three-storey villas seeking assistance. Veliaj, no time for abuse’, 29.03.2020 ‘Spiropali responds harshly to Vasilit: Reptile/ scoundrel, a species that Qazim Ismaili will cure for malice’-, 31.03.2020 ‘Rama mentioned the boy in comma and called Kryemadhi a ‘lady’- Shqiptarja. com, 21.05.2020


Groups Most Affected by Discrimination

Graph2.1 Graph 2.1 presents, in percentage, groups most affected by hate/ discriminatory speech in online media. Women make up the biggest group affected by hate/discriminatory speech, with approximately 69% of the articles. This is a considerable increase compared to previous studies where women were target for about 39% of articles. This fact is highly concerning. Although no direct link can be shown between hate speech in the media and the level of violence in society, these two elements are mutual indicators. A high level of hate speech for a particular group in the media can be seen as an indicator of the existence of discrimination for that group in a particular society. As mentioned above, the labeling or language used toward a particular group can be taken as an indicator of the public’s beliefs or the news producers’ beliefs about that group. As a result, the fact that women are seen as bigger target for hate/sexist/discriminatory speech in Albania is an indicator of the situation which this group faces in society. 49

During the last two years, 17 women were reported in the media as victims, killed by spouses, fathers, or brothers. With this, we do not want to say that hate speech in the media has directly affected the situation, or these specific situations. What is suggested, however, is that the two phenomena should not be seen as unconnected or distinct from one another. The language used toward women in the media displays some features. In most cases, this language is openly sexist/discriminatory and is connected to ‘lack of honesty’ from women, emphasizing denigrating term for women and girls and objectifying them. Here are some of the examples: ‘Khloe keeps her ‘feet up’-, 31.03.2020 ‘Upss the beauty’s breast almost spilled out of her shirt’- 14.04.2020 ‘Jess Shears shows assets in transparent underwear’,- Balkanweb, 29.05.2020 ‘After exposing her bombastic breast, Enca makes a statement...’- 27.06.2020 ‘Two Vergara-s in bikini show their behinds.Which belong to Sofia?- 27.04.2020 Another characteristic of the hate speech toward women is the use of language that is extremely sexist in the headline, which ‘blames’ girls and women for what they might cause to the public. Here are some examples of those headlines: ‘Belen provokes from the balcony look at the erotic actions’- 25.04.2020 ‘Enca stirs the male fantasy’- 12.07.2020 ‘Kylie Jenner applies oil and stirs the fantasy of her followers’- 29.04.2020 ‘Lei Kraja drives her followers crazy’- 29.08.2020 ‘Kylie Jenner provokes her fans with hot photos’- 27.05.2020


Graph 2.2 The second group that is most affected by hate speech in Albanian media comprises Albanians.This finding is not reflected in previous studies. Most of the hate speech toward Albanians has been received from the readers’ comments in various articles where commenters expressed hate speech against one another or Albanians from Kosovo, while identifying the other with a group based on ethnic, social, economic, etc. background. Here are examples of use of this speech: ‘The day when Berisha-Basha gave the sea to Greece, Karamanlis’s message to the Parliament…’ -, 28 gusht 2020 Ben:29/08/2020 10:56 And again these Albanian garbage,Meta,Topi,Topalli,Berisha, Basha etc,etc continue to do theft politics, etc.,and they want to get the power.We Albanians are condemned by god,to not be fortunate from the politics of the leaders we have. Berisha-Basha= DUNGHILL arasi:28/08/2020 09:36 How is it possible that a small percentage vote for these… that is 20% of the brave asshole and troglodyte people do not love their country… how do you explain otherwise.....!? 51

‘They cheated on foreign tourists with hotel reservations making a profit of 84 thousand Euros, the three Durrës guys handcuffed’- Shqiptarja. com, 27 Maj 2020: • Vicidoli:27/05/2020 13:05 Birisha opened your eyes you animals and you take advantage to do business you ignorant durrsak (someone from Durrës, translator’s note). Reply • Kafsha:27/05/2020 09:45 The punishments for such shitheads must be harsh because they harm the image of the country. The peasant does not have capacity to think about protecting the image of the country.The peasant only wants money and possibly cash to put in socks and in underpants/chonies. ‘40 thousand Kosovars visit Albania on the weekend, returning to the country causes kilometers of waiting line in Morina (Video)’ –Shqiptarja. com, 26 korrik 2020: mali:26/07/2020 23:45 LEAVE you dirty ones scumbags you’ve screwed Albania ...

Graph 2.3 The fact that there are not many news articles with hate speech for the LGBTI community category, like gay, lesbian, transgender or intersex, has 52

been seen as a positive finding. However, during the monitoring, no news article was found that included these categories as subjects of the news, be it with or without content of hate speech. This is a sign of the lack of consideration of a number of groups or minorities in the media. On the other hand, no news articles were found to bring educating information or perspectives for these categories, especially the ones that we know less, like transgender or intersex people. News items are produced only for their sensational effect and for quick consumption, a click on the headline. The consequences of this phenomenon might have a huge impact on the audience because stereotyping members of this community by identifying persons only through their obsessions, body, sex, genital organs is harmful for anyone. The only category of persons with a different sexual orientation that is mentioned in articles containing hate speech is the gay category. These are some examples of readers’ comments: ‘DP: Money the government gives to small businesses in the morning, is taken in the evening through social insurance’, --AGRON GEI:10/04/2020 16:04 Agron gay came out and is teaching us that man and man can marry. No Agron boy, not everyone is like you so be quiet and don’t bellow ceaselessly my dick. ‘Famous Albanian businessman Elton Ilirjani infected with coronavirus‘Ggg:27/03/2020 23:10 I wish this gay businessman a speedy death .... on:28/03/2020 08:44 I hope he is in the same room with MP Alimadhi, to put each other at ease. ‘Withdrawing the request for conditional release, Zani Caushi fights with the prosecutor in court: Why and press conference 53

before the decision? (Details)’: l popolo:18/07/2020 22:25 We cannot find another pede ‘Meta responds to Yuri Kim: I don’t play the games, Rama should be responsible! EU to start investigations on the Justice Reform! (VIDEO)’: • Boston:22/05/2020 16:17 Wow! What a pederast!

Who is ited?

Graph 3.1 Graph 3.1 presents an overview of the items cited in news with hate/ sexist/discriminatory speech content. In the same line with topics treated in the news articles, the most cited items are those of showbiz characters, with 178 news pieces. In these news pieces, citing is not done in the traditional journalistic way, which is a journalist brings the voice of a person who is perceived as reliable by the audience in order to present a more specialized thought. In these news pieces, citing is simply a fabrication by the journalist, based on what the character has written or posted on social media. This needs to be mentioned for the very fact that it is an indicator of the way journalism standards are changing and the impact these practices might have in the way news items are written, 54

and moreover, on the way journalism plays its educating role in society. The second most cited category is Vox Pop. This concerns comments by various readers. This category includes all the news items that do not have problematic language in their content, but the news is presented in such a way, especially the headline, that it incites use of hate speech. Meanwhile, there are three cases when news items with use of problematic language were found, as a response to statements made in the media by MPs, politicians, or (former-) ministers: ‘Spiropali responds harshly to Vasilit: Reptile, scoundrel, a species that Qazim Ismaili will cure for malice’ ‘Called doctors monsters and accused them for hiding the covid 19 case, director of Durrës hospital, faces former-MP...’- March 29, 2020 ‘Beqaj’s proposal for reductions, pensioners revolt, idiot, we are not to live like dogs’- April 29, 2020. Data show that there are very few, or non-existent, voices that oppose hate speech in articles in online media. The following graph illustrates this element more clearly.

Graph 3.2


Based on the monitoring of the online media, only in 1 from the 293 monitored articles there is mention of someone who opposes hate speech. Even in this case (article below), contention comes more like a political (and personal) reaction because it is simply a discussion in social media and not a traditional news piece. ‘Called doctors monsters and accused them for hiding the covid 19 case, director of Durrës hospital …’- Shqiptarja 29 .03.2020 There is, in none of the cases, no citing or reaction of representatives of institutions that are in charge of protecting human rights, or institutions and organizations that promote human rights in general, and human rights in the media, particularly. Moreover, none of the 293 monitored articles makes any reference to any policies, guidelines, or conventions concerning human rights. This shows that there is high level of negligence in the Albanian media of that side of the coin that needs to be provided to the public as complementary in order to shape a better understanding regarding human rights. It can be concluded that media in Albania fails to play their role as educating institutions for the public. They transmit one side of the coin, the voice of those who show hate speech, indirectly validating its use.


Characteristics Of Subjects That Are Victims Of Hate/ Discriminatory Speech In Online Media Graph 4.1

Based on graph 4.1, the gender of persons affected by hate/discriminatory speech and the age are important factors in online media. Thus, women of the age 19-25 seem to be the most affected group by hate speech. Meanwhile, for men, the age most affected by hate speech is 40 +. Graph 4.2 gives a clearer explanation on this situation. Since women find a bigger coverage on topics concerning Showbiz/ Lifestyle, this is in the same line with the age group that is covered more widely in the media in this area, which is 19-25. With men, it is the opposite: for them the most covered section is Politics/Governance/Law and this is in the same line with the age group 40+, which finds more coverage in this area as the age group most representative of persons who deal with politics or government in the country.

Graph 4.2 57

Graph 4.3 presents characteristics of the hate speech used, divided according to online media monitored. As it can be seen, there is a common trend for all the online media to use more than two types of

categories of hate speech: dehumanizing metaphors and language that promotes violence.

Graph4.3 Some examples of these categories are given below. Dehumanizing metaphors can easily be seen in these types of news: ‘Photo/All naked with bombastic shapes, this is the sexy model that refuses Ronaldo’- 19.07.2020 58

‘Bella Hadid a hot bomb, shirt almost bursting’- 4.05.2020 ‘Rihana leaves no room to imagination, while exposing her bombastic breast and behind’- 2.06.2020 ‘Enca enjoys life and shows her breast’- 10.08.2020 Meanwhile, there are many examples of hate speech that support and promote violence: ‘Serbian family comes to Tirana, Albanians scratch their car and write offensive words’- 24.08.2020 ‘Sali Berisha’s former bodyguard takes control of the protest at the Theater’ – 16.05.2020 ‘Sea border? Rama: open sea for what-to-see’- 29.08.2020 ‘Fevziu, news entries in parliament are laughing stock’- 28.05.2020 The concerning fact is that in most cases in 236 articles, there are some details in the news about the identity of the subject that is the victim of hate/discriminatory speech, like name, last name, gender, age, etc. (see graph below).This has to do with the fact that, as mentioned above, most news items fabricated in the section Showbiz are taken from personal pages of showbiz characters and no anonymity on them is preserved, as this goes against the scope of the news: to make a sensation.

One interesting finding is the one regarding use of photos in the article (graph 4.5). It has been found in monitoring that most articles- 243, have photos of the subject that is victim of the hate/sexist/discriminatory speech. 59

Graph 4.5

General Characteristics of Articles Containing Hate/ Discriminatory Speech The main finding regarding characteristics of news with hate/ discriminatory speech is that most articles use this speech in the headline, as presented in graph 5.1. In this category, almost all the online media have the same approach. Since the headline is used like a bait to attract the audience, and the focus being all on attracting more readers (or we might start using the term clicker instead of reader for online media), the headline clearly strives to be catchy, with the cost of spreading hate/discriminatory speech.


Graph 5.1

Graph 5.2 Another concerning phenomenon from the monitoring is the fact that most articles, as shown in graph 5.2, have no author. The only articles that have an author are the ones published in sections like Opinion, Idea, 61

or Analysis. There are some reasons why most articles have no author. First, it can be because, as mentioned above, most articles containing hate speech are taken from online media accounts of various characters and are simply copy-pasted by all other media. Another reason could be editorial choice to not use the journalist’s name since many of the websites are managed by a small number of journalists, and putting the name of the author in many news articles on the same day (as the reality might be) could be seen as a sign of lack of professionalism or can create problems for different media on issues of staff treatment, overwork, etc. Third, it could be the choice of journalists themselves not to author the news, as they might not want to be identified with certain news because they understand that the (moral) or professional value these types of news could get is not reasonable. However, all the above-mentioned findings must be treated in a deeper study in the future so that we can have a clearer view of this situation. Regardless of what the reasons are for not having the author’s name in the article, the fact that for monitoring hate/discriminatory speech in the media absence of the author of the article makes it difficult to address the problem remains a fact.

Characteristics of Comments in Articles Containing Hate/Discriminatory Speech This section focuses on different characteristics of comments by readers and, in a general view, on the role readers’ comments have on strengthening hate/sexist/discriminatory speech in online media. In this section, we analyze only the online media, for which comments appear at the bottom of the article, and for each article there is a signal in each headline indicating that there are comments. From the data presented in table 6.1., for most articles with hate/sexist/ discriminatory speech for the media, there are comments by the readers. 62

Graph 6.1 There is a right correlation between the fact that there are comments in the article and the use of hate speech in the comments. Thus, in all articles containing hate speech in the text, there is hate/sexist/ discriminatory speech in the comments by the readers. Such a fact shows that there is no doubt that use of hate speech in various articles causes the public’s reaction with the same use of hate speech. Here are some examples from the comments containing hate speech when the news is about famous politicians: ‘Rama: Be brave, war is for the is not the New Year to give away chocolates’: -----goni:28/03/2020 00:10 TRASH OF A PRIME MINISTER,,,let people visit their sick kids ,,,you criminal psychopath…. ‘Assistance given away every day, DP turns blind eyes! Bardhi: Rama keeps lying to the citizens’• ---GAZMEND RUSTY BARREL:04/04/2020 18:05 Poor gazmend go away you scarecrow as you have become worse than 63

ver llapa o gazmend hide-and-seek look who’s hiding lyl the duffer who went at gazmend and gazmend the fire cracker dropped the mouse. Reply • AaLULI:04/04/2020 17:40 MAY RAMA F…. ALL YOU HAVE AT HOME YOU BALL EYE Reply o What about this?:04/04/2020 18:12 Who f… you.... Kona? • robi:04/04/2020 17:38 Bardha enough now as you of the key hole have become disgusting. Don’t you understand what people are worried about and what you worry about, go ahead fight against the salivirus. Reply • Çimi:04/04/2020 17:07 Here in the USA Reply • Bzn:04/04/2020 16:45 Ah let China and India fuck your wife sister and mother, you shit kin. Reply o O tej:04/04/2020 17:49 You have thought it well but he is worried about himself as a fagot that he is who will shake his ass? ‘Contract discovered: In COVID times Lulzim Basha pays the company that lobbies in USA for the dictator (DOCUMENTS)’: • --Si thoni?:21/04/2020 19:30 The village is burning (the coronavirus) and the b**** (bitch) Basha is combing the hair Reply • Ceco me bixhak:21/04/2020 16:09 This stupid is completely exposed. He should be combed well and well with a pocket knife so that stuperficial Lulush comes to his senses. • Haha:21/04/2020 15:28 Why doesn’t death take you o Lulo Reply 64

• KESHILLE:21/04/2020 13:07 O Luludh Gaz has sold his “tailpipe” and earned some money. You must have a higher price as there is more work needed as the legs are very close to each other … perhaps a nigor there in USA might make it work rumi:21/04/2020 12:25 Who convinces basha to do these idiot things? How do these idiots think to compete with Rama? O Basha first step you removed the violence, second step give up on councilors of the barbaric type like Cim peka, andi bushati, and all the Albanian dirt. The more times we see traces of idiocy the deeper you will sink in mud my friend. You need intelligence alliances not thickheads. -----Rahman Gashi:21/04/2020 12:22 They will go and mudsling and defame for Albania here and there like they are used to the immoral. Man slut ‘Basha’s meeting/gathering and the Theater, Nishani ‘forgets’ COVID and calls for protests: ReadandBlack stand up’: nishan may you never die o “” stateman””but that is not red and black stand up don’t hide stand up is for our side for you there is another line “” get your shoes and leave you troglodyte”---------debil i lindur:31/05/2020 16:45 it is time for dumbs to dumb themselves once and for all, it is time for animals to go to mountains in their natural habitat and not to come down to the city and pretend as a city person because an animal they will remain, you have cracked our asses with a hut…scumbags. • Haha:31/05/2020 12:43 Dullard Nishani Captain Nishani lame Nishani dumb Nishani dickhead Nishani… Reply • Ben Tironci:31/05/2020 12:42 65

When did the lames get brain and body to give you advice go and drown yourself in Erzen -------------------------------------------------------------------------‘Basha the softest leader in 30 years’, Ndoka in Report TV: It is not the time for protests, but for opposition and political action’: SHAME FOR ALBANIANS:05/05/2020 20:40 THAT THIS NA4D NDOKA CONTINUES IN POLITICS IN ALBANIA IS A SHAME FOR ALBANIANS. THERE IS NO BIGGER DISSAPPOINTMENT THAN TO SEE AN IDIOT LIKE THIS NARD NDOKA TO BE A POLITICIAN. THIS PERSON WITH NO HIGH SCHOOL DIPLOMA BUT WITH A UNIVERSITY DEGREE IS THE END OF ALBANIANS. HOW, HOW, HOW CAN AN IDIOT LIKE THIS BECOME MINISTER OF HEALTH. SHAME, SHAME, SHAME, SHAME, SHAME, SHAME. ALBANIANSCALLYOURMIND. ------------------------------NARD VESH GJAT NDOKA:05/05/2020 20:33 What a terrible thing it is that an IDIOT like nard bigears ndoka continues in politics with 30 full years this IDIOT continues to be paid by the Albanian taxpayers.THERE CAN NOT BE A BIGGER NATIONAL TERROR. GOC BLESS ALBANIA FROM IDIOTS OF THE NARD BIGEARS NDOKA TYPE. --------shikusi:05/05/2020 19:24 There is hardly any illiterate person left out of the tv screen nard the dumb do not put the level so low because it is shame on you ------------------------nino:05/05/2020 19:20 What is this idiot saying, Basha the softest politician in these 30 years.... Ahaaaa o Nard d*k Basha is a murderer have you forgotten January 21 when he killed 4 innocent people on the sidewalk .... Justice is coming and the file will be opened. --------


Some of the comments suggest the fact that most comments are in fact made by professional commenters, who are hired by different political parties or various political figures to do this, commenting in favor of this figure, in online media. In the specific terminology, this person is called a troll. The concerning phenomenon of using trolls to shape and impact public’s perception for different issues and figures is known recently in a series of studies or in investigations8. In Albania, it is necessary to conduct a well-designed study on this issue and to generate more concrete data for the spread of this phenomenon in our country. From monitoring two days after each of the articles containing hate speech in the comments, it results that none of the comments have been deleted, removed, or modified. All comments with hate speech appear the same in online media pages, even some time after their publication.

8 See:


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