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‘Hacking of Platform for Investigative Journalism website not a mere coincidence’

Hacked PIJ
15 Apr, 2022
Join us in the fight for media freedom and to further protect citizen's right to know.

The hacking of Platform for Investigative Journalism (PIJ) website is a serious attack on journalism, violation of right to access to information and a criminal offence under Electronic Transactions and Cyber Security Act of 2016.

The hacking of the website investigativeplatform-mw.org was noted on Thursday, April 14, 2022 and the site remained inaccessible for many hours on Friday.

Our website has been hacked by unknown group and readers cannot access it at the moment.  We are working with our IT team to retrieve it and resume the important work of publishing public interest journalism. The public will be notified once we have retrieved our website,” reads the notice on PIJ facebook page.

The incident happened barely nine days after officers from the Malawi Police Service (MPS) detained PIJ Managing Director Gregory Gondwe and held on to the computer and phone they confiscated from him overnight before returning them.

The confiscation of Gondwe’s Information Technology (IT) equipment by the police already raised serious privacy concerns and this latest hacking incident vindicates such fears. We believe the hacking incident is not a mere coincidence.

MISA Malawi believes the hacking is intentional and we cannot rule out the involvement of State agents considering the circumstances.

We are concerned that the police officers who must be in the forefront to combat Cybersecurity risks of Malawians and others in the country were directly involved in actions that qualify them as prime suspects in this Cyber attack.

The hacking is a direct attack on media freedom, right to access information and a criminal offence under the Electronic Transactions and Cyber Security Act of 2016.

The Electronic Transactions and Cyber Security Act of 2016 prohibits hacking, cracking and introduction of viruses and any person who commits such offences is liable to a fine and to imprisonment for seven years.

We therefore ask the State to investigate and prosecute anybody who violated section 21 of the Constitution of Malawi by violating Gondwe’s privacy and are now prime suspects in this hacking incident.

We wish to remind government that these continued attacks on journalists are tarnishing the country’s image on press freedom, a fundamental component in a democratic society.

We would like to appeal to journalists in the country to not cower down to such intimidation tactics. The calling to practice journalism is to the service of society and where some groups take desperate measures to interfere with the work of the media is validation that journalists are on the right course.

MISA Malawi also appeals to rights bodies in the country, diplomatic missions and lawyers of good will to join us in the fight for media freedom and to further protect citizen’s right to know.

Media contacts

MISA Malawi Chairperson Teresa Ndanga
Cell: 
+265 999 247 911 or email teresa.temweka@gmail.com
MISA Malawi National Director Aubrey Chikungwa
Cell: 
+265 999 327 311 or email info@misamalawi.org

About MISA

The Media Institute of Southern Africa (MISA) was founded in 1992. Its work focuses on promoting, and advocating for, the unhindered enjoyment of freedom of expression, access to information and a free, independent, diverse and pluralistic media.

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/ MISA on Twitter

We are clinging to old laws. The colonialists have moved on from those laws & yet we are here fighting to review them. We are still stuck in 1957. We need to review - Justice Mandala Mambulasa, High Court Judge, during our engagement with MPs.
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@AfricaNetRights https://t.co/4soZ2zGcpk
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Malawians must be free to express themselves. Any law that is contradicting the Constitution must fall. We will repeal and review undemocratic laws - Aboo Naliwa, Chairperson, Parliamentary Committee on Media & Communication.
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Today, @misamalawi engaged Parliamentary Committee on Media & Communication on issues of #FreeSpeech in #Malawi. @misamalawi Chairperson Teresa Ndanga asked the legislators to support review of #CyberSecurity law which limits online expression.
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