Pegasus case is in discussion all over the world. The report, released after a joint investigation of 16 media groups, said that the phones of leaders, officials and journalists were being spied in 10 countries of the world. So far, 38 journalists of India, 3 prominent opposition leaders, 2 ministers, and a judge have been named in this espionage scandal. Since, the manufacturer of the spying software provides this product only to the governments, so the government itself is under question about it. The Indian government has refused to investigate the matter, but the investigation has also started in France.
The names of Edvi Planel, founder of Mediapar, an investigative journalism organization in France, and his colleague, journalist Lenag Bredau, are also on the list, whose phones were spied through Pegasus. Mediapar is the same NGO, on whose complaint the investigation of corruption in the Rafale case has started in France.
Mediapar’s investigative journalist Lenag Bredeau has also filed a complaint in France in the Pegasus case. After which the investigation of this matter has been started. Dainik Bhaskar spoke to Leenag Bredaw on this whole issue. You also read this conversation…
Question: The names of journalists from more than 10 countries of the world including India are on the Pegasus spying list. When did you know that your phone is being spied on?
Answer: The team of ‘Forbidden Stories’, the organization that brought to the fore the Pegasus case, contacted me and told me that our phone is being spied. ‘Forbidden Stories’ was doing an investigation about this for a long time. After this, they asked for our phone for forensic examination. A few weeks ago we deposited our phones at the Amnesty International center in Berlin. A technical examination of the phone revealed that our phone was hacked in 2019. That is, it is certain that much sensitive information about my phone reached others.
Question: In India, most of the names in the list that have come out so far are of journalists. Why are governments around the world spying on journalists’ phones?
Answer: Attempts to ban the media are not new to governments around the world. Why journalists’ phones are being hacked and who is doing it, there will be different reasons in different countries. The Moroccan government is suspected of hacking my phone. According to what has been revealed so far, Mediapar’s founder Edvi Planel went to Morocco at the end of June 2019. Soon after that his phone was hacked, because there he raised questions about freedom of the press and civil rights there.
My phone was hacked for 15 months from Feb 2019 to May 2020. Yes, I reported about the Moroccan intelligence agency in 2015. This could be one of the reasons, but it also begs the question why data was being stolen from my phone 4 years after the 2015 report? I report on issues like sexual violence. Morocco also uses these themes to target the opposition. Maybe, because of this my phone was spied on.
Question: Being a journalist, your phone was spied on, but this also leaves your very personal information to the hackers. What worried you the most after knowing about this?
Answer: Obviously the biggest concern was about your privacy. Apart from this, I am also afraid that spying on my phone puts the sources from which I know the news in danger.
Question: There is a noise of Pegasus spying all over the world, but you are probably the first journalist who filed a complaint regarding this matter. What is the main issue in your complaint?
Answer: In my complaint, I have raised the issue of my privacy most strongly. Journalist or anyone else cannot interfere in his personal space. Apart from this, it is an attack on the freedom of the press. There are also some technical aspects to the complaint. Like infecting the device with spy software. This has been done without any legal permission against our will which is a crime.