Yesterday, homophobic hackers attacked Tunisia’s main LGBT title, Gayday Magazine, taking over its email, Twitter and Facebook accounts.
This comes after several previous attacks which hacked Gmail, Twitter and the main site, renaming account titles to ‘Garbage Day Magazine’.
These attacks take place at the height of an international campaign of which Gayday Magazine is a part, to raise awareness about the massacre of emo and gay people in Iraq.
Fadi, the editor of Gayday Magazine said: ‘The hackers are Tunisians, that’s all I know for now regarding their identity. They seem really determined to take down the magazine. This is by far the strongest homophobic attack the magazine received. They don’t want to engage in a dialogue, they are just determined to silence us.’
Gayday Magazine’s Facebook, Gmail and Hotmail accounts were hacked despite all having complex passwords including symbols, numbers and letters.
‘I’m quite disappointed,’ Fadi said, ‘I opted for a Gmail account thinking it’s safer. But it’s obviously not. I got hacked three times in a row in the same morning even despite the complex password, and now the Hotmail account associated with my editorial account suffered the same fate.’
Since the Facebook and corresponding email account have been hacked this means that potentially sensitive correspondence and contact information stored online may be putting people at risk, especially as being out in most of the Arab world carries legal and social penalties.
As email accounts have been hacked, Fadi is unable to regain control over the associate Facebook user and the Twitter account has been completely deleted.
The attack is the latest in a string of threats, defamation and accusations against LGBT people in Tunisia and Gayday Magazine in particular.
Recently Human Rights Minister Samir Dilou with the encouragement of popular TV celebrity host Samir Wafi have called for the magazine to be denied to the right of expression and stating that LGBT is a sickness not a human right.
This comes after the UN Human Rights Council stated sexual orientation and gender identity are part of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and called upon states to protect their citizens from discrimination and homophobic attacks. In addition Amnesty International has called on the Tunisian government to protect LGBT citizens.
Fadi says the hacking may be as a result of the authorities inciting homophobia.
Fadi added: ‘Unsurprisingly, this is coming after various calls from religious leaders to have Shari’a law as the sole reference for the country’s future constitution.’