Meydan TV's Facebook account hacked (updated)

This article was last updated at 10:46 am Baku time on 30 January, 2018

On 29 January, around 10:00 am Baku time, Meydan TV's Facebook pages were hacked.

Surreptitiously gaining access to a profile with admin privileges on Meydan TV's Facebook pages, the hackers removed all other users from the account and began deleting posts. Within an hour, Meydan TV's Facebook pages in Azeri, Russian, and English were all unavailable.

Around 7:20 pm the same evening, as we were working to restore our Facebook pages, a DDoS attack began on www.meydan.tv, rendering our website totally unavailable for approximately half an hour, and causing a number of glitches which we are currently trying to resolve.

At midnight we regained control of our Facebook pages, although all posts had been deleted and thousands of followers had been blocked. Meydan TV is looking into the possibility of recovering the deleted posts.

This attack follows a massive DDoS attack on www.meydan.tv earlier this month, as well as a coordinated campaign of false copyright complaints against our YouTube account.

Azerbaijani opposition politician Jamil Hasanli's Facebook account was also hacked recently. All of Hasanli's posts were deleted and over 70,000 of his followers were blocked.

In May 2017, an Azerbaijani court ordered five independent news sites to be blocked at the request of the Ministry of Communications. In December, an appeal brought by Radio Liberty's Azerbaijani service, one of the blocked sites, was rejected.

Recently, at the World Economic Forum in Davos, President Ilham Aliyev commented on internet freedom and freedom of speech in Azerbaijan.

“If you look to the substance, all the basic freedoms in Azerbaijan are provided, including freedom of press, which is absolutely free," the president said. "About 80 percent of the population of Azerbaijan are internet users and when internet is free, without any censorship and absolute majority of population are using internet, it is difficult to talk about restriction of press."

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Your support empowers our courageous journalists, many of whom work at great personal risk to freedom and safety. Every contribution to the protection of independent journalism in Azerbaijan matters. Thank you.

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