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Premier of Albania discredits “Le Iene” report, then backtracks

He had defined as “trash” a report on child laborers in his country. Then he admitted he had spoken without having seen them, but did not apologize

The head of the Albanian government, Edi Rama, reacted to a television report of the TV show Le Iene on the exploitation of child labor in his country, broadcast on October 31st on the channel Italia Uno, defining the show as “trash”, accusing the authors of having recycled old footage and giving fake information. The next day he partially backtracked, but without expressly apologizing to the people insulted. Alice Martinelli, the journalist author of the report, believes that the episode maintains an intimidating intent. “I consider it an attack, an attempt to discredit me,” she told Ossigeno.

The report entitled “Child laborers who help the family” (watch) was filmed between October 13 and 16, by Martinelli, along with two Albanian colleagues in Bulqizë. It shows children between 11 and 13 years old who work to help their families financially, collecting – in exchange for derisory figures – stones rich in chromium, a material that is sold on international markets.

After airing the program on child laborers, Rama got himself filmed in the same location where the service was shot. Then he had lunch with a local family (watch) and during lunch he called Le Iene “a trash show”.

Alice Martinelli replied to Rama, first with a post on Facebook, then with a video-message on the website of her show (on November 13th, look). She defended her work by underlining its authenticity.

The day after Prime Minister Rama, during a TV interview with Studio and Hapur, admitted that he was wrong, said he had spoken before he saw the report. However he did not explicitly apologize to the people he had insulted.

“In Albania – Alice Martinelli commented – there have been many reactions. On the internet there are many links that talk about this story. But in Italy almost nobody did it. We ourselves of Le Iene have kept a low profile. We were afraid of possible retaliation against the families involved in the affair.”

MF (gt)

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