March 16, 2023, Yerevan
On March 14, 2023, a hacker attack led to the cracking of the YouTube channel of Aravot.am and the deletion of the entire archive of videos. According to the website editor Anna Israelyan, the attack occurred after the editorial office posted a teaser that read: “…In what way and to what extent did the revolutionary officials enrich themselves during the year of war in a warring country? Who are the “Miller-Kings” of today?” This referred to an upcoming investigative video.
This is not the first time when, by an allarming coincidence, criticism of the authorities is followed by hacking attacks on online platforms. A preliminary study by digital security specialists has identified the technical similarities in the methods used in these attacks. In particular, the specialists observed that the hacking tactics used in this case coincided with those employed in a previous hacker attack on the YouTube channel of Union of Informed Citizens NGO in January of this year.
Under these circumstances, it is perplexing that some representatives of the ruling political force are spreading absurd and sarcastic comments on social networks, laying the blame on the media.
While we, the undersigned organizations, as well as Aravot.am still refrain from making accusations against anyone unless there is evidence, we do reserve the right to document and compare the facts and bring them to the public’s attention.
Expressing our resentment over the hacking attack on the media, we demand:
- the law enforcement agencies to treat our statement as a report on cyber-crime and take immediate steps to identify and prosecute the perpetrators;
- the representatives of the ruling political team to refrain from unfounded assumptions and comments, which are nothing more than an attempt to divert attention from the core issue.
COMMITTEE TO PROTECT FREEDOM OF EXPRESSION
YEREVAN PRESS CLUB
MEDIA INITIATIVES CENTER
JOURNALISTS’ CLUB “ASPAREZ”
FREEDOM OF INFORMATION CENTER
PUBLIC JOURNALISM CLUB
“JOURNALISTS FOR THE FUTURE” NGO
“JOURNALISTS FOR HUMAN RIGHTS” NGO
GORIS PRESS CLUB