MIA, a ministry of propaganda meant to snoop on citizens, warns BIRN journalist

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Investigative journalist, Gjergj Erebara warned against the newly formed government agency focused on media and information, calling it “a ministry of propaganda and mass surveillance”.

Erebara added that the government is being defensive about this agency in order to create an Orwellian language, claiming that it won’t change anything, but according to the journalist, there are hidden motives.

“It is a ministry of propaganda and a mass surveillance agency. There are two aspects to it, one for media and information and the other to spy on our modes of communication and to identify what citizens think of the government. We will have a government office that is paid for with our own taxes… in order to identify whether or not we make positive or negative comments about the government and the prime minister,” – said Erebara during an interview for Euronews Albania.

“We have a story in Albania that is the story of the clerk of the Palace of Dreams and this will be nothing more than that clerk in the Palace of Dreams, but in a comic aspect. Kadare made it into a book, describing the state intelligence services that spied on citizens’ dreams so they could continue to persecute and imprison them. Now we have the comic version, where we have an office that can rat us out, when we criticize or insult the government,” – said the journalist of the renown Balkan journalistic network, BIRN.

During the weekend, the government announced that they had established the Agency of Media and Information (MIA) whose main focus will be ‘informing the public on the various activities organized by the government’.

This agency will be coordinating the activities of the ministries’ press rooms, while also dealing with their relations to the press. It will be monitoring the press as well as social media networks, while also conducting surveys that are of high public interest.

The head of the Agency will also serve as a spokesperson for the Government, the status of whom will be “equal to that of a Minister of State”.

So far, in order to have a platform where they could communicate directly with the public, the government had been using the prime minister’s personal Facebook page, ERTV, the Telegraphic Agency of Albania and the Public Radio-Television RTSH.

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