In 2018, several websites of progressive organizations and media outfits became victims of relentless DDoS attacks. A probe by Sweden-based Qurium Media Foundation revealed that the attacks came from the Philippine Army, including activities linked to the Chief of Staff for Intelligence of the Philippine Army.
Bulatlat maintains that these so-called “cyber security” efforts could mean online surveillance, distributed denial of service (DDOS) attacks, “fake news” and other forms of attacks aimed to suppress freedom of the press and of expression, as well as the people’s right to information. This issue was brought to the attention of the UN Special Rapporteur on the Promotion and Protection of the Right to Freedom of Opinion and Expression Irene Khan who will hold her official country visit next week.
Media outlets have been subjected to DDoS attacks.
On the first National Press Freedom Day, journalists highlight the increasing attacks against the Filipino media community and how laws were being used to silence the independent press.
President Rodrigo Duterte opened his six-year presidency with a threat – that journalists are not exempted from assassination “if you’re a son of bitch” – about a month before he was inaugurated into power. This cemented his hostility towards the media. And it did not end here.
International media organizations are appalled over the National Telecommunications Commission’s order blocking online access to Bulatlat and fellow alternative news Pinoy Weekly, which the Philippine government accused of having terror links.
Filipino journalists commemorated World Press Freedom Day with a warning against the increasing attacks against the Philippine independent media and concerns on the upcoming elections.
Sweden-based Qurium Media Foundation released their internal forensic investigation on the three-month long distributed denial of service attack (DDoS) against Philippine media, tracing it to a group of Filipino hackers that were earlier hailed by the government’s counterinsurgency arm as “a group of computer geniuses.”
A group of Filipino journalists has assailed the series of cyber-attacks that have been targeting the Philippine media and called on government agencies to investigate and stop these attacks.
“We condemn these attacks against alternative and independent media groups like Pinoy Weekly of Pinoy Media Center. We call on the public to join us in resisting attempts to muzzle our voices online, and make these attacks accountable to law and the people.”
“There has yet to be a conclusive investigation on this matter of great public interest where the freedom of expression and of the press are at stake. If and when it is proven that government resources are being used to fund these cyberattacks, accountability and justice must be exacted,” the resolution read.