Cyber attacks push elPeriódico offline in 'new wave of intimidation' against the Guatemalan newspaper

  • By
  • August 29, 2018

By Teresa Mioli and Paola Nalvarte


Guatemalan newspaper elPeriódico has been shutdown by a new wave of cyberattacks.

“We suspect that our news content, specifically those published in recent weeks, are the reason for the anger and nuisance of dark figures who possess sufficient means to be able to cause damage of this magnitude to our website,” elPeriódico wrote in a news release published on Twitter.

The site reported attacks to its server since the early morning hours of Aug. 29 in what it says is the 15th such assault on its site.

When the Knight Center attempted to reach the site from the U.S., it received a message that the site could not be reached. The publication and its journalists continue to report via social media.

The fourteen former attacks, according to the site, occurred during the government of the now dissolved Patriotic Party (PP). The site said it is working to find a temporary solution and alternative while it is offline.

Without naming the complainants, the newspaper called attention to recent suits against its founder and director, José Rubén Zamora.

In July, a judge banned Zamora from mentioning Foreign Minister Sandra Jovel in his publications for a period of three months. And in August, a judge ordered the elPeriódico director not to “disturb or intimidate” politician and former first lady Sandra Torres, “including the use of electronic media or social networks,” according to Publinews. Both used a law against violence against women in their complaints.

“elPeriódico rejects this new wave of intimidation against it and reiterates that the blocking of its site, as well as harassment, threats, discrediting and disinformation campaigns and even jail, will not stop our independent and truthful journalistic practice. We will continue to denounce acts of corruption, nepotism and illicit enrichment that continue to be produced by those who insist on keeping the country in darkness,” elPeriódico wrote in its release.

Throughout his career, Zamora has faced numerous campaigns to discredit him, lawsuits, death threats, abduction, assassination attempts and attacks by paramilitary forces against him and his family. He has also received numerous prizes in recognition of his work, such as the Maria Moors Cabot Prize from Columbia University and the International press Freedom Award from the Committee to Protect Journalists.