On the morning of 3 November, the Facebook account of Toplum TV experienced a hack attack.
Some of its videos were deleted and Founder Alasgar Mammadli’s personal information was accessed.
Deleted videos include the broadcast of the TV program “Debate in Society”, which had aired the previous evening. On it, Popular Front Party of Azerbaijan (PFPA) Chairman Ali Karimli had spoken about the recent international corruption investigations about Azerbaijan and its repercussions in the foreign media, misconduct in the presidential and parliamentary elections, rising food and service prices, and domestic violence in the country.
Programs hosted by the leader of the Musavat Party were deleted as well. The hackers also took the opportunity to delete likes and followers by the thousands.
According to Mammadli, the compromise occurred via an intercepted SMS used for two-step authentication.
In his opinion, the hack is politically motivated and an attack on freedom of expression and privacy. Mammadli demands that national authorities investigate the incident.
Meydan TV was unable to reach the government agency responsible for internet security in Azerbaijan to comment on the case.
Toplum TV has been operating in Azerbaijan since October 2016 as an independent media outlet, producing news, interviews and reports on daily events. Its website also serves as a platform for the Institute for Democratic Initiative’s School of Democracy Program, which aims to improve the professional development of young journalists.