The mass media had long served as an important instrument for
the government's efforts to revolutionize society along communist
lines. One of the first acts of the communists when they came
to power in 1944 was to seize control of the media, although formal
nationalization of media operations did not occur until 1946.
Thereafter the press, radio, and later television were used to
justify communist rule and instil Marxist values in the population.
The press, radio, and television were also used to mobilize the
population to support and participate in the implementation of
regime programs, such as economic plans, antireligious policies,
or campaigns to promote literacy. In order to appeal to the sentiments
of the masses, much of the media's message had a nationalist content,
evoking feelings of loyalty and pride associated with Albanian
independence. The media also served to keep party and government
officials in check through exposure of corruption and inefficiency.
The media were closely controlled by the party through the exercise
of vigorous censorship until 1990, when the leadership began to
moderate policies and to gradually allow for the expression of
views that ran counter to the official line. Before 1990 all individuals
who worked in the mass media, whether editors, film directors,
or television and radio producers, were subject to strict party
discipline and rigid guidelines.
The most important daily newspaper was Zeri i Popullit (Voice
of the People), published by the party's Central Committee. As
a result of the democratic changes that began in 1990, Zeri i
Popullit lost its substantial circulation to the new, liberal
papers that started to emerge. By 1991 several opposition papers
had emerged, including the popular and outspoken Rilindja Demokratike.
In response to the changing public mood, Zeri i Popullit dropped
the hammer and sickle insignia from its masthead, along with the
Marxist slogan "Proletarians of the World Unite." It then joined
with opposition newspapers in the campaign to expose and denounce
the corruption and privileges of the ruling elite.
Data as of April 1992