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Temporary Suspension of Telegram in Spain Following Court Order

Madrid, March 24, 2024, The Europe Today: Starting Monday, the use of the messaging application Telegram in Spain will be temporarily suspended, following a request from various media companies. The decision comes in response to concerns raised by Atresmedia, EGEDA, Mediaset, Telefonica, and others, who alleged that Telegram was being used to disseminate copyrighted content without proper authorization.

Judge Santiago Pedraz of the Audencia Nacional, Spain’s high court handling sensitive cases, issued the order for the temporary suspension. This move aims to investigate the claims made by media companies regarding unauthorized content sharing on the platform.

While the investigation is underway, Judge Pedraz has directed mobile operators to block Telegram’s services within Spain. The decision stems from a court request made in July 2023 to officials in the Virgin Islands, where Telegram is registered. However, the lack of cooperation from the Virgin Islands authorities prompted Judge Pedraz to implement this “precautionary measure” to address the issue.

Consumer advocacy group Facua criticized the ruling, denouncing it as disproportionate and warning of potential damage to millions of Telegram users in Spain. Facua’s general secretary, Ruben Sanchez, likened the decision to shutting down the internet due to copyright infringement on certain websites.

According to the competition watchdog CNMC, Telegram ranks as the fourth most used messaging service in Spain, with nearly 19% of Spaniards surveyed reporting its usage. Globally, Telegram boasts 700 million monthly active users, but the company has faced blocking measures in several countries, ranging from Brazil to Somalia.

The temporary suspension of Telegram in Spain underscores the complexities surrounding online content regulation and copyright enforcement, highlighting the challenges faced by both authorities and digital platforms in ensuring compliance with legal standards while preserving user freedoms and access to communication tools.