Iraq lifts ban on access to Telegram

Iraq lifts ban on access to Telegram

Decision effective Aug. 13 upon instructions of prime minister, says Communications Ministry

By Ahmad Delimi and Safiye Karabacak

BAGHDAD (AA) - Telegram, which was closed Aug. 6 by the Iraqi government, will be opened for access starting Aug. 13, the Communications Ministry announced late Saturday.

The ban will be lifted on the instructions of Prime Minister Mohammad Shiya al-Sudani, it said in a statement.

"The ban was lifted after the company that owns the application responded to the requests of the security authorities to identify the parties who leaked citizens' data,” the statement stressed.

Iraq is not against freedom of expression, but the commitment of companies with social media applications to respect the country's laws, security and user data is important, it added.

The Communications Ministry announced Aug. 6 the decision to ban access to Telegram had been taken "at the request of high-level authorities of the state.”

The justification for the decision was "preventing the leaking of private documents belonging to the state and protecting the personal data of citizens.”

The Iranian-backed Shiite militias that actively use the social media platform in Iraq reacted harshly to this step.

They had claimed that the US had given the government the order to shut down Telegram.

*Writing by Merve Berker

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