Iran studies blocking Telegram app

Iran studies blocking Telegram app

Baku, Azerbaijan, Oct. 28

By Umid Niayesh - Trend:

The Iranian Committee for Determining Offensive Contents will discuss the issue of banning Telegram, a mobile messaging application, popular in Iran.

The committee will hold a meeting today on the issue, Iranian MP, Mohammad Ali Esfanani said, ISNA news agency reported Oct. 28.

The Committee, which is headed by the prosecutor general of Iran, is responsible for identifying sites that carry forbidden content and report that information to the Telecommunications Company of Iran and other major ISPs for blocking.

Esfanani, who is a member of the Committee for Determining Offensive Contents, said that arguments about necessity of banning Telegram will be discussed in the meeting and finally a decision will be made.

Iranian authorities already denied allegations that they have temporarily blocked the app.

Pavel Durov, founder of the company that launched Telegram, said 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 on Twitter. However Iranian Minister of Information and Communications Technology Mahmud Vaezi said Telegram's services were disrupted for several days due to "disconnections in some communications channels".

He added that Tehran had previously called on Telegram to block "immoral content".

Telegram, which functions as a messaging and content sharing application, has become popular in recent months among Iranians, who use it to communicate with each other and also share materials like pornography and political satire. Many of Iran 's government-controlled news agencies have also embraced the platform, using it to advertise their stories.

Currently, at least 13 million Iranians use Telegram, according to the Islamic Republic's communications and information technology ministry.

It should be noted that several of world's most popular networks, such as Twitter and Facebook are banned in Iran, while users are still able to access them via proxies. A proxy allows bypassing 'gates' meant to block certain sites.

Edited by CN

Follow the author on Twitter: @UmidNiayesh

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