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Govt unblocks Telegram following several agreements

News Desk

The Jakarta Post

Jakarta  /  Mon, August 14, 2017  /  03:22 pm
Govt unblocks Telegram following several agreements

Communications and Information Minister Rudiantara said the government and Telegram had agreed on numerous terms as a condition for unblocking the messaging application's web version in Indonesia. (Courtersy of/Communication and Information Ministry)

Indonesian authorities last week officially restored full access to Telegram, after the Ministry of Communications and Information had blocked the browser version of the messaging app on July 14.

"The [ministry] has been given a special path to address negative content related to radicalism and terrorism, so the public can return to using Telegram," Communications and Information Minister Rudiantara said at a press conference at his office on Thursday, as quoted by tempo.co.

Rudiantara said the government and Telegram had agreed on a number of terms as a condition for unblocking the web service. 

The first is on the appointment of a Telegram representative to communicate with the government. Second, the creation of an internal software on Telegram to filter out certain content, especially related to terrorism and radicalism. Third, creating standard operating procedures (SOP) for follow-up handling of negative content.

"It's more or less a same-day service, so if a complaint is lodged, it would be processed and taken down on the same day," Rudiantara said.

Read also: Six things to know about Telegram

The minister added that the SOP was devised by a team of representatives from both sides, noting that it was in the process of being adapted to the Telegram system as of Thursday last week.

In terms of filtering, Rudiantara explained that there was a specified script containing keywords to search for negative content, especially on radicalism and terrorism. "For example, by typing ‘ISIS’, content or a channel containing the keyword can be accessed and taken down," he said. 

Following the implementation, Telegram has found approximately 10 channels in Indonesia that must be blocked for containing elements on radicalism and terrorism. "Telegram has developed it well," Rudiantara noted.

He further added that Telegram's speed as a service provider to clean up the negative content would also need to be developed in the future. "We will improve on the service for the community, in order to make the program more comfortable, so it doesn't stop here."

Content related to radicalism and terrorism found on the messaging platform has also been conveyed to the National Police and National Counterterrorism Agency (BNPT), Rudiantara added. (liz/kes)