FRONTLINE statement on PBS hacking

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May 30, 2011

Hackers attacked PBS’ servers late Sunday night, publishing internal login information and posting fake news on PBS.org sites. A hackers’ group said the attack was a protest against a FRONTLINE film broadcast last week examining the anti-secrecy group WikiLeaks. PBS said that no viewer information was compromised and that the sites were repaired quickly.

Following the broadcast last Tuesday of “WikiSecrets,” about alleged leaker Bradley Manning and WikiLeaks, FRONTLINE received both praise and criticism from viewers. Some supporters of Manning and WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange objected to what they saw as negative portrayals of the two men. FRONTLINE published and addressed criticism at its website, including comments from Manning’s father Brian, Manning supporter David House, WikiLeaks supporter Gavin MacFadyen and Julian Assange.

FRONTLINE Executive Producer David Fanning called the hackers’ attack “irresponsible and chilling.”

“We see it as a disappointing and irresponsible act. We have been very open to publishing criticism of the film, and the film itself included multiple points of view. Rather than engaging in that spirit, this is an attempt to chill independent journalism.”

You can watch “WikiSecrets” and read the discussions here.


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