Modi in South Africa | We're facing brutal trolling, cyberattacks: Daily Maverick editor
"We could easily make out that these attacks are taking place from India in an apparent bid to block access to our article on Modi," he said
A couple of days after carrying a news report on Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s alleged refusal to disembark from aircraft on reaching South Africa, South African news outlet Daily Maverick's Editor-in-Chief Branko Brkic on Thursday (August 24) claimed that their website has been subjected to a massive cyberattack while they’ve also been brutally trolled on the social media.
Talking to The Federal on phone from South Africa, Brkic revealed that it all started after they carried a report headlined, ‘Tough love triangle: President Ramaphosa showers Xi Jinping with attention, while a miffed Modi refuses to get off his plane’, on Tuesday (August 22) which stated “how the Indian prime minister declined to disembark from the plane as the South African government did not send a more senior official to greet him” to the country.
Also read: Modi 'refused to deboard plane' over snub, says report; ‘untrue’: South African govt
He said, “Our website received 36.1 million hits (HTTP requests) from Indian servers on Wednesday following the publication of the article which also registered 6,000 reads from India. However, within 8 hours of the story getting published our website was subjected to a major cyberattack.” He said they have been forced to temporarily block website access in India after experiencing a malicious denial of service attack.
Brkic disclosed that the cyberattack was blatant, as usually one could not identify the origin of the cyberattack, but that wasn’t the case with Daily Maverick. “We could easily make out that these attacks are taking place from India in an apparent bid to block access to our article on Modi…it was all very insane. They didn’t stop there and went on to brutally troll us on social media as well, terming us as ‘India haters’ and ‘Modi haters’,” he added. Daily Maverick has been investigating ways to make the article accessible to India, but the attack is so large that it’s proving difficult, he said.
Brkic also stated that they stand by their news report. He, however, refused to share the details of the report, which is no longer accessible on their website and Twitter handle, contending that by doing so their sources will be compromised. He also sounded a bit dejected that they’ve been embroiled in an unnecessary controversy at the crucial time of BRICS Summit in South Africa. “It’s so disappointing that we are in the middle of this due to a silly little story instead of focusing on the critical issues dominating the BRICS agenda here. Moreover, it also seems to have diverted the attention of people,” he added.
Also read: PM Modi: BRICS expansion is a message to all global institutions
Earlier, South African Deputy President Paul Mashatile’s Spokesperson, Vukani Mde, rejected the story published in Daily Maverick concerning Modi’s visit. Dubbing the report as “fabricated”, Mde categorically denied the claims that PM Modi was snubbed upon his arrival. He said Mashatile was at the Waterkloof Air Base in Pretoria – near Johannesburg, where the BRICS summit is underway – “well before” Prime Minister Modi landed.
According to the Daily Maverick, a cabinet minister was initially sent to receive Modi at the Waterkloof Air Base and the Indian prime minister refused to disembark from his plane. “By contrast, President Cyril Ramaphosa had personally been on the tarmac to greet Chinese President Xi Jinping when he arrived on Monday night,” the website reported.