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Govt’s move to block WhatsApp, Telegram draws flak

Govt’s move to block WhatsApp, Telegram draws flak

Nov 04, 2017 - 18:51

KABUL (Pajhwok): Journalist and civil society organizations have denounced the government’s move to block the WhatsApp and Telegram messaging services and some facebook and twitter accounts.

Documents associated to the Ministry of Telecommunication and Information Technology (MoCI) show they have asked the Union Telecom, a telecommunication company, on 22 and 30 October to ban Whatsapp and Telegram apps and some social media accounts. 

The ministry has asked the regulator to act upon the orders till November 1 and examine the process for at least 20-days.

Reacting to the government move, a statement from the Kabul Press termed it a step against the law towards censorship of media and social media outlets.

“The freedom of expression has been formally recognized in laws of the country and the government cannot act against the laws”, the statement said.

Afghanistan Journalist Union (AJU) and Afghanistan Journalists Centre (AJC) termed the ban on social media outlets against the law and an attempt to restrict the freedom of expression.

Shazad Gul Aryobi, acting telecommunication and information technology minister, said the government decision to block the Whatsapp and Telegram was aimed at improving the services and the ban was temporary.

He said the ban on social media outlets never meant restricting the freedom of expression.