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Religious conservatives also targeted the progressive Tolo TV, which had been criticized by clerics for airing programs that "oppose Islam and national values." In May, a popular female television presenter who had worked at Tolo was murdered, possibly by family members who did not approve job, and other program hosts received threats or were forced off the air, according to the Committee to Protect Journalists.Although registration requirements remain in place, authorities have granted more than 250 publications licenses, and several dozen private radio stations and eight television stations are now broadcasting, with the expansion of independent print and broadcast outlets continuing in 2005.
Nasab was released in December, but the case is considered to have had a chilling effect on press freedom, with an accompanying rise in self-censorship.
The pact, which capped more than two years of negotiations, was considered a key milestone on the path to EU membership, and EU officials said media freedom would be among their priorities as they pressed Albania to make additional structural improvements.
The countrys parliament-appointed broadcast regulator, the National Council of Radio and Television (NCRT), continued to face accusations of political influence and incompetence.
The media played a prominent role in at least two new incidents that proved embarrassing to the government.
In March, the Tirana-based television station Alsat broadcast a gaffe in which Foreign Minister Besnik Mustafaj predicted further regional border changes if Kosovo were partitioned between Serbs and ethnic Albanians.
Many independent media outlets are hampered by a lack of revenue.