Iraq lifts ban on Telegram app

Middle East News
2023-08-13 | 04:49
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Iraq lifts ban on Telegram app
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Iraq lifts ban on Telegram app

The Telegram application has resumed its services in Iraq on Sunday, following a week of being blocked by authorities for reasons related to "national security," a decision that sparked widespread controversy.

In a statement released late on Saturday, the Iraqi Ministry of Communications announced that it would "lift the ban on the Telegram application in Iraq, effective from tomorrow, Sunday."

The ministry stated that its decision was based on the "response of the owning company of the application to the requirements of the security authorities, including disclosing the entities responsible for leaking citizens' data and its full readiness to engage with relevant authorities and establish official channels for communication in Iraq."

The ministry emphasized that it is "not against the freedom of expression, but rather underscores the importance of compliance by owning companies of social communication applications with the laws of the country, its security, and the data of its users." 

Throughout the past week, access to the "Telegram" application was only possible through a virtual private network (VPN).

At the time, the Ministry of Communications explained that the application was blocked "based on directives from higher authorities, related to national security, and in order to safeguard the personal data of citizens, which the mentioned application had compromised in violation of the law."

The ministry further added that it had repeatedly requested the company managing the mentioned application to "collaborate in shutting down platforms that lead to the leakage of data from official state institutions and citizens' personal data, posing a threat to Iraqi national security and social peace." However, "the company did not respond and did not engage with any of those requests."

The widely-used Telegram application in Iraq, especially favored by media platforms aligned with pro-Iranian parties, is used for news dissemination. 

The suspension of the application caused outrage within these platforms, with one channel, boasting over 330,000 subscribers, commenting that the application's suspension amounted to "muzzling mouths and confiscating freedoms."

In April of last year, Brazil also suspended the operation of Telegram, preventing it from providing data about newly active Nazi groups on the platform. However, the decision was overturned by a judicial ruling.



AFP
 

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