MOSCOW, March 3. /TASS/. Russia’s prosecutor general’s office has been requested to organize a check of the Telegram messenger to stop circulation of Islamic State (IS) propaganda, the Izvestia daily said in its Thursday issue.
The request, according to Izvestia, has been initiated by Maxim Grigoryev, the head of the Fund for Democracy Problems and a deputy chairman of the Russian Public Chamber’s commission on harmonization of interethnic and interreligious relations.
"Our fund has exposed terrorist channels in Telegram more than once. They are used not only to conduct propaganda of terrorism but also to circulate instructions on how to make explosive substances and conduct sabotage activities," Izvestia quotes Grigoryev as saying.
Telegram founder Pavel Durov said earlier more than 660 Islamic State channels have already been blocked in the messenger.
"As for Islamic State: more than 660 public channels of Islamic State have been banned since November; from five to ten such channels are being canceled daily after abuse reports at firstname.lastname@example.org," he wrote on his Twitter account.
Earlier in the year, access to Telegram Messenger was partially blocked in Saudi Arabia. Iran blocked access to Telegram in October 2015 after Telegram ignored a request from Iran’s ministry of information and communications technologies to provide instruments for censorship of messages.
In the meantime, there have been requests to block the messenger in Russia as well. Thus, according to media reports, first deputy chairman of the constitutional committee at the Russian State Duma lower parliament house Alexander Ageyev asked director of the Federal Security Service Alexander Bortnikov to look at a possibility to restrict access to Telegram for Russian users in case there was proof that this app was being used by the Islamic State terrorist organization.
Russian Minister of Communications Nikolai Nikiforov said however there was no need in blocking Telegram as this measure was inefficient in the context of anti-terror efforts.
Telegram, a free messenger for smartphones, was launched by VKontakte founder Pavel Durov in 2013 and is now used by about 62 million clients across the globe.