Marking the World Day Against Cyber Censorship, independent and alternative journalists, as well as student and human rights activists and IT advocates picketed the National Computer Emergency Response Team (NICT) of the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) head office at Diliman, Quezon City to press the agency to act on relentless and continuing cyber attacks on websites of independent and alternative media.
The protesters decried the cyber censorship in the form of distributed denial of service attacks (DDoS) attacks. 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 DDoS since late December 2018 and continue until today.
“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.com. “The 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.”
Since January this year, Bulatlat, Altermidya and Pinoy Weekly have sought hosting and quick response support from Sweden-based IT advocacy nonprofit group Qurium Media Foundation.
Since taking on the websites of Bulatlat, Altermidya and Pinoy Weekly, Qurium has called the attention of NCERT and DICT regarding the relentless DDoS attacks on the websites of alternative media and advocacy groups. The said government agencies, however, have not answered Qurium’s queries.
“This is why we are here. We demand that they act on the attacks. Otherwise, we will be lead to believe that NCERT and DICT are complicit in the attack on press freedom,” said Rhea Padilla, national coordinator of Altermidya.
“Not content with fomenting disinformation and fake news, the Duterte administration is hell-bent on silencing what it considers as fierce critics and political opponents and goes to extreme lengths and harnessing even the power of the dark web.”
Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) is a malicious form of cyber-attack that aims to overload a targeted machine. Once the server is oversaturated, the website will become inaccessible. As a result, additional and legitimate readers of the website are literally be “denied” of access. #