Spain's High Court orders block on Telegram messaging app as a precautionary measure

Telegram Copyright Andy Wong/Copyright 2019 The AP. All rights reserved
Copyright Andy Wong/Copyright 2019 The AP. All rights reserved
By Euronews
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This article was originally published in Spanish

The ruling came after a complaint by media organisations that the platform was allowing its users to upload content without their permission.


Spaniards have been left without access to the instant messaging app Telegram, at least for the time being, after Spain's High Court ordered it to be blocked as a precautionary measure.

Judge Santiago Pedraz agreed to temporarily ban the platform after four of the country's main media groups - Mediaset, Atresmedia, Movistar and Egeda - complained that the app was disseminating content generated by them and protected by copyright without authorisation from the creators.

Access to the platform - which is the fourth most-used messaging service in the country - will be suspended from Monday but it was already being suppressed on certain mobile phone providers on Saturday. 

Why has Telegram banned?

The judge had asked the company that owns the application to send certain information in the framework of this case. 

After Telegram did not respond to Pedraz's requests, he ordered it to be blocked.

According to legal sources, this is temporary and will only last for a few days. 

Telegram is now not available after different teleco operators in Spain blocked its use in compliance with the magistrate's order.

Access depends on network operators

Many users of this messaging platform have criticised the High Court decision after it stopped working on their devices. 

However, the judge said his decision was based on the company's lack of cooperation.

Although it is no longer available on some mobile phones, access still depends on each network operator. 

While they are complying with the High Court decision and are already blocking Telegram, it is a process that can sometimes take several hours. 

Telegram was still active early on Saturday, but throughout the day, it has started to be deactivated on some devices.

Telegram is one of the most important messaging applications in the world, with 900 million users in total. 

In Spain, according to the latest available data, it has just over 8 million users, which is almost 18 per cent of the total population.

Where else is Telegram banned?

Spain is not the only country that has blocked Telegram. 

Other states have resorted directly to outright blocks to prevent critical opinions from circulating on the app.

The first to deactivate Telegram was China where it was "switched off" in 2015 in the face of the messages opposing the communist regime that were disseminated through it. 

Thailand, Pakistan, Iran, and Cuba have also banned it for similar reasons.

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