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Ukraine's TV, radio-broadcasting body urges government not to use Telegram

by Kateryna Hodunova and The Kyiv Independent news desk April 30, 2024 4:21 PM 2 min read
An illustrative photo of the Telegram Messenger logo is displayed in the Apple Store for iPhone. (Sheldon Cooper/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)
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The National Television and Radio Broadcasting Council on April 30 called on Ukrainian governmental organizations and officials to stop using Telegram, the most popular messaging application in Ukraine.

The statement comes shortly after Telegram, allegedly by mistake, blocked three Ukrainian government chatbots, which were primarily used to communicate with those living in Russian-held areas.

"Although Telegram is a very convenient form of communication, officials and official governmental organizations must be kept off Telegram, and this ban must be implemented immediately," Olha Herasymiuk, the head of the council, told Ukraine's Center for Strategic Communications.

Telegram is widely used by Ukrainian officials and various government bodies.

Herasymiuk also said that the council is cooperating with international partners to add Telegram to the list of digital platforms that must be regulated and fined in cases of law violations.

Ukraine's military intelligence chief Kyrylo Budanov earlier said that Telegram poses risks because "any person can create a channel and start writing whatever he wants on it," but it also presents certain benefits, namely, in communicating with people from occupied regions.

Pavel Durov, the Russian-born founder of Telegram, said last week that Ukrainian users of iPhone would face "inevitable changes" in Telegram operations allegedly due to updated Apple policies.

Durov also said that at the start of the full-scale invasion, he suggested restricting "Telegram channels in Russia and Ukraine because they were being used for military propaganda," but Russian and Ukrainian users "vehemently opposed restrictions."

According to Durov, Telegram blocks accounts and chatbots that collect data aiding strikes or publish personal information along with calls for violence.

Reuters: Telegram says Ukrainian government chatbots mistakenly blocked
Telegram chatbots of Ukraine’s military intelligence agency (HUR), the Security Service of Ukraine (SBU), and the Digital Transformation Ministry were “temporarily disabled due to a false positive,” Reuters quoted a Telegram spokesperson on April 29.
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