Indonesia to unblock Telegram, combat Islamic State channels
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Indonesia to unblock Telegram, combat Islamic State channels

INDONESIA’s government has vowed to lift its block on Telegram after the messaging app provider’s CEO Pavel Durov met with the country’s Communications Minister in Jakarta, providing assurances about combatting the communication channels of extremists.

Earlier in July, Indonesia partially blocked Telegram over reports Islamic State operatives were using the encrypted messaging platform to distribute “radical and terrorist propaganda” in the world’s largest Muslim-majority nation.

Russian national Durov met with officials of Indonesia’s Communications and Information Technology Ministry on Tuesday to discuss how to effectively combat “negative” content on Telegram to ensure the ban could be overturned.

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“I appreciate Telegram is very responsive in addressing this issue,” said Communications Minister Rudiantara in a statement, adding the app would be unblocked this week.

Telegram provides highly secure, end-to-end encryption from sender to recipient, which means not even the companies providing the platform can access messages. For this reason, it is known to be a popular mode of communication between sympathisers of IS and other terror groups.

“Telegram is very concerned about the threat of global terrorism, especially for countries like Indonesia,” said Durov, who emphasised the importance of joint statements against extremism from his company and governments like Indonesia.


Durov with Indonesia’s Communications Ministry official Samuel A. Pangerapan on Tuesday. Source: Indonesia’s Communication and Information Technology Ministry

He tweeted on Monday he was “in Jakarta, meeting with local teams brainstorming ways how to eradicate ISIS propaganda more efficiently.”

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Indonesia is currently struggling to contain a rise in Islamic radicalism, seen to threaten the nation of 260 million people’s history of religious tolerance and pluralism.

The government recently banned Islamist group Hizbut Tahrir Indonesia, which advocates the replacement of democracy with a transnational Islamic caliphate.