By JANESS ANN J. ELLAO
MANILA — Filipino journalists marked the World Day Against Cyber-Censorship with a protest action assailing the insidious and well-funded cyber-attacks against independent and alternative media outfits in the Philippines.
“We have reason to believe that the Duterte administration has orchestrated this cyber attack on websites of critical and independent media as part of its efforts to silence criticism and dissent against it,” said Ronalyn Olea, managing editor of Bulatlat.
In a protest action in front of the National Computer Emergency Response Team’s office in Quezon City, journalists challenged the government agency to look into the widely reported cyber-attacks in the form of Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks.
NCERT, a division under Cybersecurity Bureau of the Department of Information and Communications Technology, is “responsible in receiving, reviewing, and responding to computer security incident reports and activities.”
Sweden-based Qurium Media Foundation, a non-profit organization assisting threatened media worldwide, has repeatedly reached out to NCERT over the said incidents.
Bulatlat associate editor and UP Mass Communications professor Danilo Arao thanked Qurium for assisting alternative media outfits under attack.
Websites of Bulatlat, Kodao Productions and Pinoy Weekly, as well as Altermidya – People’s Alternative Media Network, and other advocacy websites, have been targeted for distributed denial of service attacks (DDoS) since late December 2018 and continues until today.
Olea said “cyber-attacks are in conjunction with the overall attacks on press freedom that include threats against news site Rappler and even dominant media networks like ABS-CBN.”
Later tonight, at 7 – 8 p.m., a Twitter rally will be held. Hashtags #KeepUsOnline #StopCyberAttacks #DefendPressFreedom and #DefendIndependentMedia will be used.