"Toplum TV" accuses police of cyber-attack on its accounts

"Toplum TV" accuses police of cyber-attack on its accounts

"Toplum TV" has issued a statement following the arrest of its staff and sealing of its office.

On 6 March, police invaded the office while staff were working on the programme "News on Toplum TV". "The search was carried out without presenting a court order. Mobile phones were taken away from all editorial staff, depriving them of the right to call their lawyers and inform the editor-in-chief and the founder. At the same time, the editorial office equipment, including computers, was seized. In this way, the police gained access to "Toplum TV"s Youtube and İnstaqram accounts. Further, the names of the pages were changed and all videos were deleted.

We declare that employees of the Baku City Police Headquarters are responsible for this cyber-attack," reads a statement.

After the publication's employees were taken to the police, passwords to their phones were taken from them under pressure, and also under pressure, receipts were taken that they surrendered all devices "voluntarily".

"Arrests with the same lawlessness also took place at the Institute for Democratic Initiatives - a partner structure - of "Toplum TV," the statement said.

After the arrests, police searched the flats of some employees of both structures, where they allegedly found various amounts of money in foreign currency.

"This money does not belong to our employees and was planted by the police to press charges," the "Toplum TV" statement further noted.

"Toplum TV is a non-commercialised entity that broadcasts quality content according to the standards of professional journalism.  The channel's airtime has been devoted to public complaints and the government's responses to them, criticism of the government and the opposition.

We have always endeavoured to maintain a balance, giving the floor to all those who wanted to be heard," reads the statement.

The government's attempt to silence "Toplum TV" is a part of the campaign to completely eliminate truth-telling media organs.

"We strongly state that the reason for this criminal case is not our activities, but the crimes and lawlessness we are investigating and bringing to the people. The person ordering the arrests, the search of our office, the illegal interference in our Internet resources is the government that fears exposure of its illegal actions," the statement emphasised.

At present, "Toplum TV" is busy dealing with the consequences of the cyber-attack on the publication's Internet resources, as well as organising the protection of the arrested platform founder Alesker Mammadli, videorealtor Mushvig Jabbarov and employees of the IDN's partner organisation.

"For this reason, we apologise to our users for the interruption caused to our quality and professional journalistic activities, very soon we will restore their rights to receive truthful information, balanced discussions.

At the same time, we demand a response to the repressive steps against "Toplum TV" and we will do everything possible to bring the perpetrators to justice. The employees of "Toplum TV" are just journalists and have not taken steps that could be the basis for a criminal case against them. We will continue to do so from now on," reads a statement of "Toplum TV".

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