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Serbian website hacked after publishing statement about Minister of Interior

The Association of Independent Electronic Media (ANEM) strongly protests against new hacking attacks on the website "Pеščаnik".

The website "Pеščаnik" was exposed to hacking attacks on 27 August 2014, after having been a target of similar attacks at the beginning of June, when it published a text by a group of authors who claimed that the doctoral thesis of the Minister of Interior, Nebojša Stefanović – which he defended at the Megatrend University in June 2013 – is plagiarized. The new attack did not bring down the website. Instead, this time the headline placeholders above the articles featured the statement "Stop the lies".

ANEM considers it discouraging that "Pеščаnik" is exposed to new attacks while the former ones are still being formally investigated. The fact that those responsible for the attacks of three months ago have not been found yet clearly only encourages new attacks. ANEM wishes to remind the public that a modern democratic society cannot exist without the media, which reflect its pluralist nature and which are not dominated by a single point of view. Therefore, ANEM considers any stifling of critical voices dangerous and unacceptable. Attacks on websites do not infringe on media freedom only. They contribute to diminished trust in institutions, and the Serbian society on the whole is furthering itself from the aims it claims to be aspiring towards.

ANEM expresses its support to the editors and journalists of "Pеščаnik" and full solidarity with them, and it asks the responsible authorities to ensure freedom of expression and media freedoms in Serbia, among other means, by establishing who is behind the attacks and by punishing those responsible in accordance with the law, both the responsible for the attacks on the website "Pеščаnik" and those responsible for the attacks on other media websites.

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