Listening Post

News media: The new frontline

Is cyberspace becoming a battleground between media outlets in the West and a rising power in the Far East?
Last Modified: 09 Feb 2013 10:02

Hacking is nothing new. Some do it for profit, others for secrets. Self-styled "hacktivist" groups such as Anonymous do it for causes they believe in. But what if the target is a newspaper and the hackers have a grudge?

On January 30, the New York Times revealed that hackers based in China had waged a four-month-long cyber onslaught against the paper soon after it published an article exposing the fortune amassed by the family of outgoing premier Wen Jiabao, a fortune that for the Chinese Communist Party has turned out to be – quite literally – an embarrassment of riches. 

Soon after the Times, the Wall Street Journal and the Washington Post admitted that they too had been attacked. Bloomberg News and Associated Press are also on the list of media outlets targeted by China-based hackers, raising the spectre of a new front in the global cyber war – one that puts journalists and their sources in the firing line.

Our News Divide this week addresses media security in the digital age with Professor Catherine Lotrionte, director of the Institute for Law, Science and Global Security at Georgetown University; the computer security consultant and blogger Graham Cluley; the Guardian newspaper's technology editor, Charles Arthur; and the Hong Kong based internet entrepreneur and IT advocate Charles Mok.

Other stories in this week’s Newsbytes: Internet search giant Google has closed a deal with France to avoid a ‘link tax’ that could have eaten into profits; in Greece, an enraged oil magnate has apparently issued death threats against journalists on the trail of a multi-million dollar scam; Somalia once again, where a journalist has been singled out by the government for interviewing a woman alleging gang rape by soldiers; and finally, does North Korea dream of America in flames? A video from the state propaganda office seems to suggest just that.

In our feature: A moribund visit to the media morgue – the obituaries desk. A good obit writer has to be ahead of his game even if it means writing up the past lives of the living. Nic Muirhead investigates the do’s and don’ts of the journalistic ‘last post’.
Lastly, the shortest film ever to be nominated for an Academy Award: ‘Fresh Guacamole’ by the talented stop-motion animator PES, whose real name is Adam Pesapane. Adam cut his commercial teeth with the advertising giant McCann-Erickson. But then he asked himself: “Why does it have to be selling a product?” 

If he doesn’t take home an Oscar this year, at least he’s won the award for Listening Post internet video of the week.

Listening Post can be seen each week at the following times GMT: Saturday: 0830, 1930; Sunday: 1430; Monday: 0430.

Click here for more Listening Post.


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