An independent organisation with a scope that spans 43 countries, Mapping Media Freedom tracks threats, violations, and limitations imposed on media professionals as they carry out their work. Jurisdictions covered include EU Member States, candidates for membership, and neighbouring countries.
This marks the third report on an attack on The Shift News that has been picked up by Mapping Media Freedom in the last twelve months, with the others including an attack by Henley and Partners and Speaker, Anglu Farrigua that instructed The Shift News to amend a story.
The Mapping Media Freedom report states that The Shift had become the target of a Distributed Denial of Service attack (DDoS) as a result of publishing a series of revelations about deals between the Maltese government and healthcare providers.
“The attack came following the publication of a third report alleging that the government had awarded a lucrative contract to a healthcare company that had secretly funded the takeover of medical supply firm Technoline. The Shift alleged that as a result of the secret deals, the healthcare providers involved acquired a monopoly in the healthcare market,” the report continued.
This latest report comes after the DDoS attack was also featured as an alert on the Council of Europe website. Despite the platform providing a place for the state to respond to each alert, and the European Centre for Press and Media Freedom publicly demanding that they investigate immediately, the government has ignored the matter completely.
#Malta🇲🇹: @The_Shift_News, a Maltese investigative news platform, suffered a cyber attack aimed to block the site after publication of a series of stories on controversial hospitals deal. We and the @EFJEUROPE reported the attack to the @CoEMediaFreedom https://t.co/XRZYwPJEa5
— IFJ (@IFJGlobal) January 17, 2019
In addition to the report from Mapping Media Freedom, the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) which represents over 600,000 international journalists, has tweeted about the attack and claimed responsibility for reporting it, along with the European Federation of Journalists (EFJ), to the Council of Europe.
The Istitut tal-Gurnalisti Maltin (IGM) has not issued any statement or comment on the matter and has not reported the attack, despite such matters falling under their supposed remit.