ICFJ Knight Roundup: Cyber attack hits digital media site in Ecuador

by Alyssa Mesich
Oct 30, 2018 in Digital and Physical Safety

Each week as part of the Knight International Media Innovators blog, the ICFJ Knight team will round up stories focused on how their fellows are making an impact in the field. Find out more about the fellows' projects by clicking here.

Overcoming a cyber attack, building free public Wi-Fi and more from the Knight Fellows in this week’s roundup.

Defending individual freedoms comes at a risk in Ecuador

GKillCity, the first liberal, digital and alternative media in Ecuador, was blocked for 48 hours by a DDoS attack, a cyber attack that stands for “distributed denial of service.” The server hosting the website was overloaded with targeted requests, which brought the site down.

This is an increasing threat to Latin American media. GKillCity, a countercultural citizens communication project accelerated by ICFJ Knight Fellow Mariano Blejman’s Media Factory, was created to defend individual freedoms and eliminate discriminatory public policies. Read “The day we were afraid” in Spanish by José María León Cabrera, founding editor of GKillCity.com, for more insights into the cyber attack.

Building free public Wi-Fi for the world’s disconnected

Around the world, 4.3 billion people cannot access the Internet. Outernet and Creative Commons are co-hosting the first Edit-a-thon to change that and create Humanity’s Public Library. Code for Africa and local digital activists are helping drive the movement in Kenya. In a blog post introducing the Edit-a-thon on Outernet, ICFJ Knight Fellow Stephen Abbott Pugh writes

Outernet broadcasts a data signal from satellites that is free to receive anywhere on Earth. While this is not an Internet connection, it is a free stream of critical information. What information is considered “critical?” You decide.

Be a part of the decision-making process at the Edit-a-thon to be held July 18-19. Anyone can participate remotely. Attend the event in person by going to the Mozilla East Africa Festival in Kampala, Uganda; Outernet's headquarters in Chicago; or at Creative Commons spaces in Guatemala and Lagos, Nigeria.

Welcoming two new ICFJ Knight Fellows in Pakistan and Kenya

Shaheryar Popalzai and Catherine Gicheru started their ICFJ Knight Fellowships earlier this month. Popalzai, a digital journalist based in Pakistan and co-founder of Hacks/Hackers Pakistan, is expanding the Hacks/Hackers community in Pakistan and supporting data-driven projects in media. 

Gicheru joins a team of Fellows leading ICFJ’s Code for Africa data journalism initiative. She is working with Code for Kenya to strengthen storytelling and audience engagement with the news through data journalism and civic innovation.

Africa Check fact checks The New York Times and obesity

Does South Africa have 5 million immigrants? The New York Times and other media organizations have reported the figure. When foreigners are the target of xenophobic attacks, as we saw earlier this year in South Africa, this is an important number to get right. Africa Check, a winner of the 2012 African News Innovation Challenge created by ICFJ Knight Fellow Justin Arenstein, examines the Times' source and compares it to the 2012 Statistics South Africa report to offer a more accurate conclusion.

Africa Check also weighs in to find out if South Africa is really the “fattest nation” in sub-Saharan Africa.

What else the fellows have been up to

Main image CC-licensed on Flickr via Merrill College of Journalism