The South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) has recently been subjected to a series of cyber-attacks from the Anonymous group as a protest against alleged censorship.

On Sunday, 12 June, the hacktivist group directed a series of online interruptions for a period of four hours, aimed at the country’s state news broadcaster websites. Anonymous Africa claimed full responsibilities on their blog and Twitter account, confirming that the action was taken as a protest against SABC’s alleged news censorship and political manipulation. “We took down SAFM, SABC and 5FM websites yesterday to protest the censorship we see coming from the government,” the group wrote on their blog. “The SABC is now used as a political manipulation tool to protect one corrupt and evil man.”

On their digital media, the group linked their accusations to SABC’s recent decision to stop showing anti-government protests in an attempt to discourage further violence and destruction of public property.

The South African Broadcasting Corporation building in Sea Point, Cape Town.
The South African Broadcasting Corporation’s building in Sea Point, Cape Town. Image: Zaian/Creative Commons

Kaizer Kgaanyago, a SABC spokersperson, confirmed the events to Fin24. “It is a serious matter that we are not taking lightly,” he said. However, the hacktivist group is not planning to end their attacks just yet. “We are not done,” they wrote on their blog. “More to come soon.”

This is not the first cyberattack the Anonymous group conducted in South Africa. Last February, the group leaked more than 1,000 names, phone numbers, email addresses and password of workers in the Government Communications and Information Systems (GCIS) portal to protest against alleged child labour, corruption and internet censorship.

These attacks feed into a time of tensions and political unrest in the country, where the role of public media seems now to be more important than ever to ensure full coverage of events and access to information.


Thumbnail image: Ian Couch/Creative commons