Digital policy and developments
Mass digital broadcasting began with the approval of Prime Ministerial Order No 7 of 2.06.2009 “On the establishment of an ad hoc Committee for the switchover from analogue to digital broadcasting”. This was followed by the approval of the transition strategy by the Council of Ministers Decision Nr. 292/2012 “On approval of a strategy of transition from analogue to digital broadcasting”. Law nr. 97/2013 “On audiovisual media in the Republic of Albania” was approved in March 2013, with Article 136 covering the full transition to digital broadcasting. The entire television sector has now been switched over to digital TV.
Digital technology in education was covered in the National Strategy for Education 2014-2020 where it was planned that by 2018, high schools would be equipped with the functional infrastructure needed to make use of digital content in teaching; and by 2018, digital school mapping would become operational, providing a virtual network for high schools.
The Council of Ministers and the Ministry of Innovation and Public Administration have prepared the strategy Digital Agenda of Albania 2015-202059. Ongoing digitalization of Albanian culture can be seen in the increasing content of material available online, the increase of digital software and information in the Albanian language, as well as the increase of technology in the country. The population has dramatically embraced the internet, and new innovations are occurring as is support for new inventors.
Government documents and strategies are now readily available online. The data from the National Library and Ministry of Culture show that the number of digitized pages increased by 18% from 5,884 pages to 107,704 pages between 2013-2015 and publications and translations supported by the Ministry of Culture had quadrupled in that time.
Archaeology is also benefiting from new innovations, such as 3D imaging technology for scanning and mapping underwater heritage, as The Albanian National Coastline Agency and the non-profit RPM Nautical Foundation had by 2017 mapped about one-third of Albania’s coast, scanning 38 shipwrecks in the Ionian Sea, six of them more than 2,000 years old. Other 3D mapping of land heritage has been completed by the Construction Technologies Institute of the National Research Council of Italy with the Institute of Monuments of Culture of Albania.
The Ministry of Culture signed a Memorandum of Understanding, with the Albanian-American Development Foundation (AADF), to establish the Digital Platform for the Cultural Heritage Sector (or Digitalization Centre) as a unit of the Institute of Cultural Monuments. This follows the 650,000 USD project “Empowering museums through technology” funded by AADF for the National Museum of Medieval Art in Korça and the National Museum of Iconography ONUFRI in Berat. In 2019, the Ministry of Culture started the establishment of the National Digitalization Centre to make Albanian cultural assets accessible and available to research worldwide.
Likewise, various archives are quickly digitizing their collections, from the Marubi photographs dating as far back as 1858, to the feature films and animations from decades ago being digitally re-mastered. The Institute of Monuments of Culture has published a 200 page magazine twice a year since 1971 called Revista “Monumentet”, all of which are now available in digital format on the IMK website60.
All of these efforts were accelerated in response to the Covid-19 pandemic with the need to offer access to culture through various online tools and platforms, such as an online 3D version of the National Gallery of Arts. In 2020, Kosovo and Albania agreed to jointly create a Pristina-Tirana “digital 5G corridor”. The memorandum laid out plans for the countries to cooperate in drafting policies for the development of the 5G network. As of July 1, 2021 roaming charges across Western Balkan countries were abolished61.
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