Updated 6.20pm with TVM website spoof

The president of civil society group Repubblika has sought police protection after he was warned to "be careful" by a Labour politician concerned for his safety. 

Repubblika head Robert Aquilina spoke to Times of Malta on Sunday after the NGO's website became the target of scammers spoofing news websites and blogs. 

Newsbook and Net News, and now Repubblika's site, have had their pages spoofed in attacks similar to the one against blogger and activist Manuel Delia.

TVM and Lovinmalta's sites were also spoofed later on Sunday.

Aquilina told Times of Malta he was recently "warned" by a Labour politician that he was a target due to his criticism of the government. "Be careful," he was told.

Although initially he did not give the politician's warning a second thought, he got concerned when the internet attacks against Delia, a fellow activitst, mounted.  

The NGO head said he had filed a report with the police and has also asked for police protection in light of the increasing attacks that now include the website being spoofed. 

By Sunday afternoon, the police had promised both Aquilina and Delia protectionary measures.

Times of Malta has reached out to the police for a comment on the matter. 

According to Aquilina, the police have since called him in for a meeting and among other things asked that he reveals who the Labour politician is. This is something he is adamant he will not do. 

"I will not disclose his identity, not even to the police," Aquilina told Times of Malta about the unnamed Labour politician. 

Asked whether he feared for his life, Aquilina said that his biggest concern is his family's safety, which is mainly why he wants some form of police protection. 

"I want to know my wife and children are safe, at least at night. This is like a page straight out of a mafia book," Aquilina said. 

In an opinion piece on Times of Malta, Delia also expresses fear for the safety of his family and says he will soon be unable afford the time, the cost or the energy it takes to calm his family’s frayed nerves about whether this electronic violence could turn physical at some point.

The spoof websites all appear to be geared towards seeding doubts about the prosecution's cases against Daphne Caruana Galizia murder suspect Yorgen Fenech and attacking the credibility of those fighting for justice in these cases.

On Friday the Institute of Maltese Journalists condemned the increasing attacks on journalists and bloggers which it said was "a clear attempt to weaken the fourth pillar of the country's democracy". 

The IĠM also called on the police to offer journalists full protection. 

 

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