App Censorship: Telegram Temporarily Blocked in Iran for "Fueling Dissent"

Apps and Software

Photo by: Oyundelger luwsaa via Wikimedia Commons


The Iranian government has temporarily blocked the services of cloud-based instant messaging app Telegram as part of the country’s effort to block “terrorist channels,” as reported by CNN.

Iran’s Minister of Communications and Information Technology Mohammad-Javad Azari Jahromi said, “If [the] Telegram manager does not respect Iranian’s demand, the application will be closed completely.” 

The temporary block of the app started on Sunday after the rising of anti-government protests, which led the ministers to think that the social media is fueling the dissent. The public channel of Telegram has also been reportedly used to broadcast information to a wider scope of audience. The country’s Interior Minister Abdolreza Rahmani Fazli also announced that some individuals are misusing the social media networks in order to cause fear and violence and that such behavior needs to be discontinued.

Telegram’s CEO Pavel Durov explained that “freedom of speech is an undeniable human right” and that their app is also being used all over the world by thousands of opposition channels. Although the company has removed the channel that strengthens calls for violence, the CEO is refusing to remove the channels which he deemed peaceful. He added in a Twitter post that another well-known messaging app WhatsApp remains accessible in the country.

CNN also reports that Instagram has been temporarily banned in Iran.