Message service Telegram to shut some public channels after Indonesia ban

Men pose with smartphones in front of a screen showing the Telegram logo in this picture illustration November 18, 2015. Encrypted messaging service Telegram will shut down “terrorist-related” public channels, its founder said on Sunday, after Indonesia’s government blocked access to the platform citing security concerns. (Reuters)
Updated 16 July 2017
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Message service Telegram to shut some public channels after Indonesia ban

JAKARTA: Encrypted messaging service Telegram will shut down “terrorist-related” public channels, its founder said on Sunday, after Indonesia’s government blocked access to the platform citing security concerns.
Indonesia, home to the world’s largest Muslim population, has seen a resurgence in home-grown radicalism, and has stepped up cooperation with its neighbors to stem a growing presence in Southeast Asia of extremist group Islamic State.
On Friday, Indonesian authorities blocked all access to Telegram, saying it had several forums that were “full of radical and terrorist propaganda.”
Pavel Durov, founder of the messaging app, said in on Telegram that there had been a “miscommunication” with Indonesian authorities, as he was not aware of a request by the government to take down certain channels.
“Telegram is heavily encrypted and privacy-oriented, but we’re no friends of terrorists,” Durov said on his Telegram channel, adding he was “upset” over Indonesia’s ban.
He said that since the ban, Telegram had taken steps to block certain channels reported by the Indonesian government to carry terrorism-related content.
Indonesian President Joko Widodo said on Sunday that other social media platforms will not be affected by the government’s latest move.
Telegram is a messaging platform believed to be popular with Islamic State sympathizers, who use chatrooms with hundreds of members as well as have private conversations.
Many messaging apps such as Whatsapp and Telegram offer end-to-end encryption from sender to recipient, which means not even the companies providing the platform can see the messages.
Security officials in several countries have complained that the such apps provide a safe space for militants to communicate with each other. Several governments, including those of Australia and Britain, have urged technology companies to do more to help security agencies thwart threats.
On Sunday, the Indonesian communications ministry did not respond to requests for comment. Some users said they were able to use Telegram to send text messages.
On Saturday, Communications Minister Rudiantara told Reuters by text message that Telegram had not processed the government’s requests to take down “radical” content quickly enough.
“We are trying to support their business but we also need their cooperation in addressing our concerns i.e. in addressing negative content,” he said.


Cuba slightly loosens controls on state media

Updated 21 June 2018
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Cuba slightly loosens controls on state media

HAVANA: Reports in Cuba’s state-run press have long consisted mostly of transcriptions of official Communist Party declarations, but that turgid style appears to be incrementally changing in the wake of Miguel Diaz-Canel becoming president in April.
Cuban journalists said the Political Bureau of the Communist Party, one of the country’s most powerful bodies, recently approved a “New Communication Policy” aimed at giving state media more ability to report news like their colleagues do in other countries.
State journalists say the goal is to compete with the spread of information from alternative online sources. Cuba has one of the world’s lowest rates of Internet use, but access has been expanding rapidly and Cubans who get online can find a nearly unlimited range of non-official media outlets.