Over the past few months, several news sites have been subjected to cyber attacks.
According to a February 7 article in the Manila Bulletin, the websites of CNN Philippines, Rappler and Philstar.com have been attacked, purportedly by a group calling itself Pinoy Vendetta, a group that the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict has praised and has encouraged to take down more websites.
The websites of Altermidya and Bulatlat have also been targeted for three consecutive days.
In the same week, the websites of Inquirer.net and of One News have also briefly gone offline. Inquirer has yet to confirm that it was attacked but One News reports that some of its content is no longer available.
Last year, forensic investigation by Sweden-based Qurium Media Foundation shows that the distributed denial of service (DDOS) attacks on alternative media websites have been linked to the Philippine Army, using the infrastructure of the Department of Science and Technology (DOST).
No less than the Department of Information and Communication Technology (DICT) confirmed that the IP address used for the unauthorized vulnerability scan was assigned to the Philippine Army.
While the recent cases of DDoS against a number of corporate media outfits have not been investigated yet, the timing and frequency raise our suspicion that the cyber attacks are orchestrated, systematic, and politically motivated.
What is clear by now is that the ones behind these are so afraid of the truth that they try to put down the websites of news organizations.
Cyber censorship has no place in a democracy. It is deplorable that a publicly funded task force supports and promotes cyber attacks on news sites.
We call on the DICT and the National Bureau of Investigation Cybercrime Division to look into these incidents, stop the cyber attacks, identify and hold the perpetrators accountable.
We want to continue doing our duty to inform the citizenry; knowing that by doing so we aid them in their decision-making.
NUJP Philstar chapter