Today Albania marked the 26th anniversary of the publication of its first free newspaper, Rilindja Demokratike.
Along the coast of the Adriatic Sea, in lands of old Illyria that range from verdant Mediterranean orchards to snow-topped mountains, lays the nation of Albania. Named Shqipëri by its people, a derivative of Shqipëria, or ‘land of the eagles’, Albania today marked the 26th anniversary of the publication of its first free newspaper, Rilindja Demokratike (RD).
The country saw periods of Italian and German occupation followed a bloody civil war between nationalists led by Balli Kombetar and the Communists of the National Liberation Movement of Albania, the establishment of a totalitarian communist dictatorship under Enver Hoxha.
5 years after Enver Hoxha’s death protests broke out in earnest in December 1990, pressing the government allow unprecedented flexibility, including on 5th January 1991 the publication of the first free media coverage in 46 years in the form of the newspaper Rilindja Demokratike, which translates as Democratic Rebirth. Published in Tirana, it opened with:
Today, Rilindja Demokratike says its first words. This reborn has a big task and one of great importance. It has taken the duty to say the right things.
RD was the first media in Albania that openly criticized the regime of Enver Hoxha, and acted as a foil for the Communist Party newspaper Zëri i Popullit. Providing a new, free, independent voice saw it rapidly became the most popular newspaper in Albania, circulating 125,000 issues in its first year. Now one of the most respected newspapers in the Albanian media, RD continues to promote liberal democratic values in Albania and a critical take on Hoxha’s reign.
This year, the 27th anniversary of the legalisation of opposition parties in Albania, the 26th anniversary of its first free newspaper and the 25th anniversary of its first free and fair election, ACRE will be holding its The Liberty Summit in Europe: The Damaging Legacy of Communism (6-9 April 2017) in Tirana, Albania, home of the Democratic Rebirth.