The Union of Kazakhstan's Journalists has awarded Russian entrepreneur Pavel Durov for his stance in a long-running battle between popular messaging service Telegram and the Russian authorities.
The union announced on June 21 that Durov was included in its annual list of award recipients "for his principled position against censorship and the state's interference into citizens' free online correspondence."
The other recipients included journalists, mainly from Kazakhstan.
Telegram CEO and founder Durov has vowed to reject any attempt by the Russian security services to gain forced access to messages.
The country's communications regulator, Roskomnadzor, started enforcing a court ban on the messaging service in April after the company refused to give Russian security services access to its securely encrypted communications.
The ban has provoked repeated protests in Russia by thousands who use and support the messaging service.
Russian officials have claimed the move was justified because the service has been used in the planning of terror attacks around the world.
Telegram lets people exchange messages, stickers, photos, and videos in groups of up to 5,000 people. It has attracted more than 200 million users since its launch by Durov and his brother Nikolai in 2013.