Albanian PM Rama Defends Agaçi, Criticizes Italian TV Report

Albanian PM Rama strongly defends govt official Agaçi, criticizes Italian TV report alleging his influence on Albania-Italy immigration deal, calls it "outrageous" and "defamation" of Albania.

Emmanuel Abara Benson
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Albanian PM Rama Defends Agaçi, Criticizes Italian TV Report

Albanian PM Rama Defends Agaçi, Criticizes Italian TV Report

Albanian Prime Minister Edi Rama has strongly defended government official Engjëll Agaçi and criticized an Italian television report that made allegations about Albania. In an interview on an Italian TV show, Rama discussed the public reaction to the RAI 3 program, which he called "outrageous."

The report by journalist Sigfrido Ranucci on the show "Report" suggested that Agaçi may have influenced the details of an agreement on immigrants between Albania and Italy and should potentially retire.

Rama rejected this, saying he sees no connection between Agaçi's career and the agreement. "Engjëll Agaçi is a victim of an unparalleled aggression by Italian television," Rama stated, despite the documentary proving connections between the Albanian government and crime.

Rama said that Agaçi was treated as a criminal and that the attacks are aimed at the Prime Minister. He defended Albania and its institutions, including its role in the bilateral agreement with Italy. "Italy has the right to criticize its own government, but not by defaming my country and the Albanian word," Rama declared.

The Prime Minister also took issue with Ranucci comparing his "very civil phone call" to the director of RAI to "the Kremlin's victims and the use of polonium to censor opponents." Rama denied notifying a letter of protest to the director during the call, as claimed by Ranucci, and said the court documents regarding his brother that Ranucci showed do not exist.

Why this matters: The controversy highlights tensions between Albania and Italy over media reporting and the treatment of government officials. It also raises questions about the Albanian government's response to critical journalism from foreign media outlets.

Rama expressed disappointment that Ranucci did not have the courage to face the "very simple reason" for his call to the RAI director, which was to clarify the reason for what Rama called a "falsehood" presented in the program. The Prime Minister stated that he received written answers to questions sent by the show, contrary to their claim that he refused to give his opinion. "I am used to attacks, but when Albania is attacked, I feel the need to react to protect the country's pride and equality," Rama said.

Key Takeaways

  • Albanian PM Rama defends govt official Agaçi against Italian TV report allegations.
  • Rama rejects the claim Agaçi influenced the Albania-Italy immigration deal, calls him "victim".
  • Rama criticizes Italian TV's treatment of Albania, says Italy can't "defame" country.
  • Rama denies notifying protest letter, says court docs shown don't exist.
  • Controversy highlights tensions between Albania, Italy over media reporting, govt officials.