Media ownership in Albania reflects the country’s tumultuous transition to democracy after the collapse of the autocratic rule of the communist party in 1991. During the communist regime the media was virtually a propaganda tool at the hands of the regime, which served to reinforce the cult of personality of late Dictator Enver Hoxha, who ruled Albania with an iron fist for nearly half a century – from 1945 until his death in 1985.
Although with the collapse of the regime the monopoly over the media of the communist party ended, the new commercial outlets that were founded in the last two decades continued to be used as propaganda and disinformation tools, serving the political and financial interests of the new economic and political elite.
The protracted and difficult transition to democracy - defined by high levels of corruption and the lack of rule of law, have created a media market that at first sight looks diverse and plural, but behind the scenes is under the control of a handful of families, who maintain close ties to political parties and often rank in benefits in the form of public tenders, tax favoritism or construction permits.
Although television remains the primary source of information for the average Albanian, the internet and social media are constantly challenging its hold on audiences. The print sector that dominated the decade after the collapse of communism, is languishing in its death bed – as a result of the technological challenge brought by the internet, lack of investment, falling advertising revenues and generally a poor output that has turned readers away from newspapers and magazines. Radio, with the exception of Radio Tirana has mostly been an entertainment medium in Albania, which despite its audience share it has little influence as an information source.