U.S. Press Freedom Tracker

News outlet hack halts publication, deletes nearly 26,000 articles

Incident Details

May 16, 2023

Investigative news outlet Black Star News was targeted in a cyberattack on May 16, 2023, that disrupted publishing and deleted nearly 26,000 articles.

The New York City-based newspaper reported that over the course of the attack, it lost the ability to post new articles until May 27. But BSN Publisher Milton Allimadi told Journal-isms that the developer building the newspaper’s new website had been archiving past articles and managed to save most of the 25,768 deleted articles, except those published between March and May.

“In the past, some of our most critical editorials or articles about corruption allegations had been specifically targeted and deleted,” BSN reported. “But never before had our website crashed.”

The outlet reported the incident to the New York Police Department and the office of New York State Attorney General Letitia James, BSN reported. Allimadi did not respond to requests for comment from the U.S. Press Freedom Tracker.

While BSN wrote that it was disappointed by the disruption, it added that it took it as a confirmation of the importance of its investigative reporting: “We are elated to know that we are producing journalism that some individuals or entities are scared of — individuals or entities that like operating in darkness.”

The U.S. Press Freedom Tracker catalogues press freedom violations in the United States. Email tips to [email protected].