Hackers Target Moscow Newspaper for Not Showing Favor to Putin
The Moscow Times continues to be attacked, following critiques of their coverage of Vladimir Putin. It’s unknown the cause, but editor Nabi Abdullaev said it was not a DDoS (distributed denial of service) that they’ve seen in the past.
Speaking with the Guardian, Abdullaev said he had no idea about the reasons for the attack. However, it may connect to the recent sentiment toward their coverage.
Recently The Moscow Times has come under fire from people who consider it to be anti-Kremlin. According to readers, their content shows too much of a western slant on Russia during times of increasing social conflict between the country and the West.
This is not a newspaper for tourists or expatriates,” said Russian columnist Israel Shamir in Izvestia. “This militant anti-Putin paper, a digest of the Western press with extreme bias in covering events in Russia – ‘the country of lawlessness.
The Moscow Times Previously Hacked
This attack is not the first time the newspaper struggled with aggression. In December, a DDoS attack took down The Moscow Times for two days. Prior to that, The Moscow Times struggled with advertisements on their website that were infected with malware.
Dear readers, the malware alerts you may be experiencing are due to a coding error in our ad banners. We will fix this asap, but in the meantime please ignore the alerts and proceed to the website. We apologize for the inconvenience!
The Moscow Times is owned by a Finnish company called Sanoma, based in Helsinki. Their possible bias may stem from a different worldview, as tensions between Russia and many Western countries has been increasing for years. While the tension is mostly from a United States and Russian perspective, events like the current situation in Ukraine send shockwaves throughout Europe as well.
Speaking of Ukraine, a country that Russia now refers to as Crimea due to an annex last Spring, an example of The Moscow Times’ possible bias could come from their coverage of the event. Pro-Kremlin groups could read the article by Human Rights Watch researcher Julia Gorbunova and see the event referred to as a “surge in rights abuses” and take offense.
One reader on Reddit came forth in December, arguing that The Moscow Times wasn’t biased, but it was simply in a league of its own.
You have serious newspapers known for news and business – The Washington Post, New York Times, Wall Street Journal. You have tabloid newspapers known for being ridiculous – The Daily Mail, The New York Post, The Sun. The Moscow Times is in another category: free independent newspapers that are very focused on local news, contain advertising for local businesses, and have a local entertainment guide.
The fact that The Moscow Times is owned by a foreign entity is also bad news for the newspaper, as a law signed by Putin put into effect rules that govern how much Russian media can be owned by non-Russian companies. The law may also spur bias in their reporting, but it’s unlikely.
Photograph from Wikimedia Commons, featured image from Shutterstock.