Gordon alarmed over cyber-attacks vs critical press
Senator Richard J. Gordon has expressed serious concern over the recent cyber-attacks against Philippine news websites news.abs-cbn.com and Rappler.com, two news media organizations critical of the Duterte administration.
Gordon, who chairs the Senate Justice and Human Rights, said the cyberattacks against these two news media organization seem to be a deliberate act to deny access to their respective two websites as an infringement of freedom of the press.
“What happened to the ABS-CBN News and Rappler websites is absolutely horrendous, given the context of unabated attacks against journalism and journalists in the country,” he said.
“Ang pambababoy sa dalawang nangungunang napagkakatiwalaang sources ng balita ay panunupil ng karapatan sa kalayaan ng pamamahayag. Dahil ba sila ay naglalabas ng mapait na katotohanan dapat na silang busalan?,” he added.
Both ABS-CBN News and Rappler were affected by a DDoS (Distributed Denial of Service) attack, causing the two websites inaccessible for several hours. ABS-CBN News was knocked out for six hours last Dec. 11, while Rappler experienced the same last Dec. 15.
DDoS attacks are usually conducted by hackers for a huge sum of money by using infected computers worldwide to flood a particular site with requests, whose sole aim is to overwhelm its servers and render it offline.
Gordon pointed out that his official website also fell victim multiple times to DDoS attacks in October and November during the height of the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee's investigation on the government’s anomalous deals with Pharmally Pharmaceutical Corporation. “This kind of attack is nothing new against purveyors of truth and those who attack this government's wrongdoings. We strive to continue serving the people in our own ways,” he said.
“We call on the pertinent government agencies to investigate these coordinated attacks because it happens all too often,” he continued.
Aside from the attacks on news websites, journalists have been slain for their fearless reportage and advocacies, with 22 newsmen having been killed since the start of the current administration.
Gordon also denounced the recent murder of veteran correspondent Jesus “Jess” Malabanan by unidentified motorcycle-bound assassins in Samar. According to CPJ’s 2021 Global Impunity Index, the Philippines remains to be the 7th deadliest country in the world for journalists in terms of unsolved killings.