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Azerbaijan: Government Escalates Hacking Campaign Against Dissent

Azerbaijan’s ruling couple, President Ilham Aliyev and First Lady/Vice President Mehriban Aliyeva. The prevailing speculation is that the recent unprecedented mass blocking of every major critical site in Azerbaijan is an attempt to block out critical coverage of the first lady’s appointment as vice president in February. (Photo: Azerbaijani Presidential Press Service)

Several of Azerbaijan’s primary independent news websites have been inaccessible for several days, apparent victims of the government’s escalating cyberwar against dissent.
 
On March 27, Meydan TV, Azadliq Qezeti, and the local service of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty all became inaccessible inside the country, local media reported. As of March 30, they were still inaccessible.
 
While the blocking of media that provides critical coverage of the Azerbaijani government is not new, a mass outing of every major critical site is. The prevailing speculation is the blackout is an attempt to block out critical Azerbaijani-language coverage of First Lady Mehriban Aliyeva’s appointment as vice president.
 

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Mike Runey is a Programme Officer for Eurasia at Civil Rights Defenders. He writes here in his personal capacity and the views expressed here are his own.

Azerbaijan: Government Escalates Hacking Campaign Against Dissent

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