Friday, January 09, 2009

Basingstoke: Is nowhere safe?

It seems that running, straight-faced, stories about extremists lifted from the right-wing papers is a new habit of the NME. Hot on the heels from the non-existent Jewish hate list it saw in the Sun comes something it saw in the Mail about a radio station:

A local radio station's website was hacked into by 'extremists' because they played a song by Cliff Richard, the station's owner claims.

Radio Basingstoke was swapped for a message warning "the west" that they should not insult Islam.

Actually, the station's owner didn't really say that:
[Owner of the station Astrid] Haigh-Smith said: "I just thought maybe it was because we had commented that we hoped our troops would be safe over Christmas. We’ve also played the Cliff Richard version of 'Hallelujah', but we would never dream of running down any religions."

Astrid does offer Cliff Richard as a possible reason for the hacking, but clearly in a "I can't think of any reason we'd be targeted, apart from the odd Cliff Richard record we don't have any religious programming' fashion rather than 'Oh, God - Richard has brought the wrath of Allah down on our heads' way.

The more prosaic truth is that a small web-radio outfit like Radio Basingstoke - whose website has the cheery admission it's "designed by Low Cost Websites" - probably has less of a security infrastructure to head off hacker attacks than, say, Radio 2 might have while still sounding, to someone without an intimate knowledge of the UK media scene, to be a significant web presence to capture.