Albania's communist government legalized the first opposition newspaper on Friday and announced greater independence for television and other news media, the state news agency ATA reported.
In a dispatch monitored in Vienna, ATA said the Council of Ministers decided to allow the Democratic Party to publish a newspaper and to make directors of ATA and of official television and radio responsible to the state, indicating the Communist Party would have less direct control.An official journalist reached by telephone in the capital of Tirana said communist-sponsored directors would probably keep their posts for the moment.
The ministers also decided to set up a commission to draft a news media law for approval by Parliament after Feb. 10 elections, ATA said.
"Up to now there was no law regulating the media. I understand this move to mean more independence from the party," the journalist said, speaking on condition of anonymity.
Gramoz Pashko, a co-founder of the recently legalized Democratic Party, said Friday's decision meant the planned newspaper Rilindja Demokratika, or Democratic Revival, would go to press "in the next day or two."
He said the Democrats held a rally Friday in the central city of Elbasan - their second rally outside Tirana - and estimated that 35,000 people attended.
Pashko said the paper would also be sold to Albanian communities in neighboring Yugoslavia and elsewhere abroad - "We shall cover the costs and, by selling abroad, raise funds for the party."