Journalists threatened and news website hacked in the Maldives23 Oct, 2015
The International Federation of Journalists strongly criticizes the hacking of Maldivian news website, Addu Live, and the threats made against its journalists. The IFJ calls on the Maldivian government to condemn the threats and ensure the safety and security of the journalists.
On October 15, Addu Live, a news website operating out of the southern Maldives, Addu City, was hacked while the offices received threatening phone calls. The threatening calls, which Addu Live allege come from acquitted suspects from the criminal courts, often demand the outlet take down reports on corruption of judges and articles critical of the government. Hassan Zaheen said that the website was hacked after it started reporting on the beginning of the presidential impeachment. Within three hours of the report going live, Addu Live received a call from an overseas number threatening to attack the website if the report is not removed. Zaheen said they refused to remove the article. The website was down for over a week.
Journalists from Addu Live have also been receiving threats for over two months. According to Zaheen, the organisation’s journalists are regularly intimidated and threatened with assault for their reporting, while the founder of Addu Live is also regularly threatened. Police assure they investigate every incident; however arrests are yet to be made.
The IFJ said: “Threatening and intimidating journalists is fast becoming the tool of choice to suppress and stifle press freedom. Maldivian journalists are regularly facing threats and intimidation in their attempts to report and tell the news. Cyber-attacks against news outlets are also becoming a tool of suppression which aims to stifle press freedom and intimidate journalists and media organisations. The Maldivian government needs to take immediate action to end the threats and ensure the safety of the journalists.”