London-based magazine shut down by hackers after criticising Turkish President Erdogan

The World Weekly was targetted by hackers after publishing an article critical of the Turkish government


A UK-based magazine was targetted by hackers after publishing an article which criticised the increasing authoritarianism of the Turkish government.

Shortly after publishing an article highlighting how Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has cracked down on democracy and threatens secularism, The World Weekly was subjected to abusive comments branding the magazine ‘the enemy’, ‘liars’, and ‘gutter press’, and telling it ‘not to mess with us’.

The article was also criticised by the Turkish Islamist daily newspaper Yeni Akit, which has close ties to Mr Erdogan. The World Weekly’s website was also made inaccessible for several hours last week after what is believed to have been a DDoS hacker attack (distributed denial of service).

Commenting on the suspected hack, editor-in-chief of The World Weekly Salman Shaheen said the magazine “will not be silenced or intimidated”.

“It is essential in a free society that we have a free press willing, where necessary, to speak truth to power responsibly. We frequently publish articles that objectively analyse – and indeed criticise – the actions of numerous administrations wether left or right, religious or secular. We cannot be 100 per cent certain it was Mr Erdogan’s supporters who attacked our website, but whoever it is that took exception to our content, we will not cease in our attempts to highlight the key issues affecting the ever more interconnected world in which we live.

“While many Turkish commenters criticised The World Weekly, assuming it has a Western bias, many others supported its findings. It is in fact our commitment to breaking through Western bias and reporting on international issues in an impartial way that has provoked such an intense debate in Turkey and we intend to go on provoking such debates around the world.”

The Turkish government recently tightened the screws on internet freedom, with new restrictions introduced in Sepember that allow for websites to be blocked if their content is ruled a threat to public order or national security. During a speech to the United Nations last year, Erdogan said he was “increasingly against the internet every day”.

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