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  Albanian newsreaders strip down to boost TRP

Albanian newsreaders strip down to boost TRP

Published : Feb 29, 2016, 6:11 am IST
Updated : Feb 29, 2016, 6:11 am IST

TV presenter Greta Hoxhaj, 24, during the news edition on Zjarr TV (Fire TV) in Tirana, Albania. — AFP

Traffic Police constable during special vehical checking drive at Sion Koliwada. (Photo: Rajesh Jadhav )
 Traffic Police constable during special vehical checking drive at Sion Koliwada. (Photo: Rajesh Jadhav )

TV presenter Greta Hoxhaj, 24, during the news edition on Zjarr TV (Fire TV) in Tirana, Albania. — AFP

Faced with tough competition to win over audiences, an Albanian TV channel is taking a literal approach towards giving viewers the “naked” truth — by employing almost-topless newsreaders.

Wearing open jackets and nothing underneath, the young women reading the headlines on Zjarr TV are an unprecedented sight in the conservative Balkan country, where they first appeared on television and Internet screens last year.

The channel’s owner says audiences haven’t stopped growing since.

“In Albania, where the news is manipulated by political powers, the audience needed a medium that would present the information like it is — naked,” Zjarr TV owner Ismet Drishti said.

“We don’t sell sex, we reproduce the news as it is. It’s both symbolic and good publicity,” said Drishti, who plans to launch French and English language bulletins with “bare information” following the same model.

For 24-year-old presenter Greta Hoxhaj, working in a state of near undress has proved to be a shortcut to glory. “I worked hard for five years in local television where I remained unnoticed,” a cheerful and relaxed Hoxhaj said in the studio, while her face was made up for the cameras.

“I regret nothing — in the space of three months I became a star.”

Every evening at 7.30 pm, Ms Hoxhaj reads the news in a revealing and preferably pink jacket, but she was quick to point out that she dresses like other women of her age in everyday life.

Her stripped down look “is only for television, for information,” said the presenter, who also studies law and psychology when she’s not in the studio.

Ms Hoxhaj’s newfound fame has landed her a job offer in Sydney as a presenter for a soon-to-launch Australian TV channel — paying 3,000 euros ($3,280) a week, and requiring her to present the news topless.

“I have not decided yet, I’m still in discussions,” said Ms Hoxhaj.

Preceding her in the anchor job was Enki Bracaj, a 21-year-old student, whose bare bulletins went viral in the Balkans and made international headlines. Officially she left because she was unhappy with her salary.

Location: Albania, Tirana