In an interview for Fairpress, journalist Eni Shehu spoke about the reasons why he thinks he was attacked and the connection of the Albanian National Theatre to his work.
I work and I’m known as an investigative journalist in Albania. In my TV stories at ABC News, I like and I always wanted to research all the sides of a story and, as it seems, somebody doesn’t stand this, including the Director of National Theatre of Albania, Hervin Çuli. This job I’ve been doing for two years now, it became my new passion, because I graduated from an acting academy and acting is in my heart. Because of that, I always supported my colleagues from the theatre and I’ve always been on their side. Taking this into account, the attack I experienced because of the work I do, was scandalous. Lately I did some stories which denounce the unfair distribution of funds of the National Theatre, the unfair way of employing the actors in that institution; So, that is the only explanation of this brutal attack.
Shehu described the whole event of the attack on him, from his arrival to the premiere of the play do the attack itself.
The attack took place on Friday, 15 January. Along with other colleagues from the media, I received an invitation to the premiere of the play “Three Sisters” by Cekhov, dedicated to media. After the second act, there was a pause of 15 minutes and everybody was pleased to step out of the theatre. I was just getting out of the theatre,
but right in the hallway the Director Hervin Çuli approached me and attacked me by hitting me and screaming “Get out you m…..f….., you came here to destroy my premiere”. I was very surprised by that reaction and I just stood there wondering what I did. Hervin Çuli just screaming in the middle of the hallway full of people and grabbing me with full force and telling me to get out. At that moment, his assistant and actor, Besmir Bitraku, came and forced me to leave the theatre. My leg is injured and I was examined at the laboratory of “legal medicine”. I am very lucky because the whole story received the highest support of the colleagues from the media and the theatre.
ABC News journalist expressed satisfaction and gratitude for the reactions of journalist associations which followed after the attack, but also disappointment regarding no reaction from the Albanian government.
I feel blessed because of reaction of the four main associations of journalists in Albania: “Shoqata e Gazetarëve Profesionistë”, “Lidhja e Gazetareve të Shqipërisë”, “Unioni i Gazetarëve” and “Shoqata e Mediave Elektronike”. I’m also encouraged by the reaction of the European Federation of Journalists and the International Federation of Journalists. But on the other hand, no one from the Albanian government, including the Ministry of the Culture, has reacted yet, which gives this case a very ugly background, said Shehu.
The attack on the TV journalist Eni Shehu was first condemned by the Association of Professional Journalists in Albania and then by the European Federation of Journalists (EFJ). The two mentioned journalist organizations are offended because of the attack and asked the Minister of culture, Mirela Kumbara, and the Prime Minister, Edi Rama, to respond to such an unprecedented attack on a journalist. The EFJ informed the Council of Europe platform for the protection and safety of journalists and the Mapping Media Freedom project on the whole case. By the conclusion of this article, the Director of the Albanian National Theatre, Hervin Çuli, did not respond to the inquiries of Fairpress on the attack.