Iran dismisses blocking Telegram app
Tehran, Iran, Oct. 21
By Mehdi Sepahvand -- Trend:
The Iranian Ministry of Information and Communications Technology has said that it has received no order to censor the popular messaging app Telegram.
Pavel Durov, founder of the company that launched Telegram, said on Twitter on Oct. 20 that Iran's Ministry of ICT demanded that the app provide the ministry "with spying and censorship tools". "We ignored the demand, they blocked us," Durov wrote.
"We have received no such letter" as to censor Telegram, Iran ICT Public Relations Director Mohammad Reza Farnaqi told Trend Oct. 21.
By that the official was referring to a legal letter from the Workgroup for the Discernment of Criminal Content, a legal body in Iran that is responsible for deciding which Internet contents are illegal and should be banned. The orders of the workgroup are to be observes by all related organizations.
Telegram, which functions as a messaging and content sharing application, had become popular in recent months among Iranians, who used it to communicate with each other and also shared materials like pornography and political satire. Many of Iran's government-controlled news agencies had also embraced the platform, using it to advertise their stories.
The Iranian government has so far censored popular social apps such as Facebook and Twitter.
Iran's Culture Minister Ali Jannati earlier said that 9.5 million Iranians use the social app Viber and 4 million to 4.5 million use Facebook. Iranians access blocked applications via proxies.
Edited by CN