Home Uncategorized Attacks Ravage Voice News: Website and Social Media Accounts Breached in Pakistan

Attacks Ravage Voice News: Website and Social Media Accounts Breached in Pakistan

Attacks Ravage Voice News: Website and Social Media Accounts Breached in Pakistan

In a concerning development, the Facebook page and online presence of the private broadcaster Voice News have been subjected to a series of cyber attacks, as reported by Ahmer Shaheen, the CEO and chief editor, in an interview with CPJ. These attacks, which began on February 17, 2023, have raised fears among staff members of potential harassment or criminal investigations.

According to Shaheen, an unidentified entity gained control of Voice News’ Facebook page, appointing unknown individuals as administrators who then proceeded to delete numerous news and political commentary videos. Additionally, they posted explicit and offensive material, including content depicting attacks on a religious minority group. Given the strict regulations in Pakistan, distributing such material could lead to severe legal consequences, including criminal charges or even violence from extremist groups.

Voice News has lodged appeals with Facebook to rectify the situation, and in the meantime, they are actively monitoring the page to manually remove any offensive content. This is not the first instance of such an attack, as a second Facebook page operated by Voice News was also compromised in November 2022. Despite efforts to regain control, the outlet faced weeks of hosting objectionable content before reclaiming authority over the page.

The broadcaster, headquartered in Lahore, boasts a sizable audience of approximately 5 million followers across various broadcasting and social media platforms. However, these attacks have significantly disrupted their operations and undermined their credibility.

In a separate incident last December, hackers infiltrated Voice News’ website management account, leading to a loss in advertising revenue. To mitigate the damage, the outlet is currently republishing content from backup files.

These cyber attacks come in the wake of a physical assault on Ahmer Shaheen himself in July, during which assailants targeted him in Lahore, stealing his laptop. Shaheen, known for his critical commentary on Pakistan’s security forces and political landscape, believes the attack was orchestrated due to his journalistic endeavors.

These incidents highlight the increasing vulnerability of journalists and media outlets in Pakistan, where freedom of expression is often under threat from both cyber and physical assaults.


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