Reporters Without Borders, RSF has condemned restricting access to the internet and social media in Iran.
“Restricting people’s access to the internet and software programs and apps, including Telegram and Instagram, by officials of the Islamic Republic of Iran is condemned and counted as “suppression of free flow of information, as well as people’s right to be informed”, RSF said Sunday, December 31, in a post on its Facebook account.
Following mass protests in recent days in different cities in Iran, there were some distortion in connecting to the internet since last Saturday but, two popular apps, Telegram and Instagram were totally inaccessible on Sunday.
Telegram and Instagram were used as communication channels in recent widespread protests.
The "temporary" restrictions on the apps Telegram and Instagram were imposed to "maintain peace and order" state-run news agency Irib maintained.
Meanwhile, following a protest tabled by the Minister of Information and Communications Technology, Mohammad Azari Jahromi, Telegram blocked a dissident channel based outside Iran, AMAD news depriving more than one million users of its service.
The youngest minister in almost four decades of theocracy in Iran, Azari Jahromi had accused AMADnews of fomenting violence.
In a tweet addressed to Telegram CEO and founder Pavel Durov, the minister noted, "@Durov A Telegram channel is encouraging hateful conduct, use of Molotov cocktails, armed uprising, and social unrest. NOW is the time to stop such encouragements via Telegram."
Durov responded by saying, "Calls for violence are prohibited by the Telegram rules. If confirmed, we'll have to block such a channel, regardless of its size and political affiliation."
Hours later, Durov tweeted that AMADnews had been suspended, and warned users to "be careful – there are lines one shouldn't cross."
Durov's tweet was met millions of users’ anger, accusing him of collaborating with tyrants.
Earlier, Durov had claimed that more than forty million people use Telegram in Iran.
Retaliating to the blockage, AMADnews returned to Telegram under an assumed name (seda-yea mardom or people’s voice).
As a consequence, Iranian authorities blocked telegram as whole.
AMAD is a Persian acronym for Agahi (Awareness), Mobareze (Combat), and Democracy.