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In the country's underdeveloped economic environment, the majority of media outlets remain dependent on the state, political parties, or international donors for financial support.

However, in September 2004 the first independent radio station supported entirely by private sector funds was inaugurated in Ghazni province.

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Article 34 of the new constitution, passed in January 2004, provides for freedom of the press and of expression.

The May 2004 press law guarantees the right of citizens to obtain information and prohibits censorship.

Religious conservatives also targeted the progressive Tolo TV, which had been criticized by clerics for airing programs that "oppose Islam and national values." In May, a popular female television presenter who had worked at Tolo was murdered, possibly by family members who did not approve job, and other program hosts received threats or were forced off the air, according to the Committee to Protect Journalists.

Although registration requirements remain in place, authorities have granted more than 250 publications licenses, and several dozen private radio stations and eight television stations are now broadcasting, with the expansion of independent print and broadcast outlets continuing in 2005.

Access to the Internet and to satellite TV dishes remains largely unrestricted.

Back to Top Albania Partly Free LE: 17 PE: 16 EE: 17 Total: 50 The legal system protects freedom of the press, and it is generally respected by the authorities.

Many independent media outlets are hampered by a lack of revenue.

Publishers and media owners tend to dictate editorial policy based on political and economic affiliations, which, together with the employment insecurity journalists face, nurtures a culture of self-censorship.

The pact, which capped more than two years of negotiations, was considered a key milestone on the path to EU membership, and EU officials said media freedom would be among their priorities as they pressed Albania to make additional structural improvements.

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