Iranian Regime’s Ban On Telegram: An Economic And Social Look
The Iranian regime’s judiciary issued a ruling on April 30, 2018, requiring the country’s Telecommunication Infrastructure Company, mobile network operators and fixed communication providers to block access to Telegram messenger.
“The blocking has to be implemented in such a way that the Telegram’s content will by no means be accessible through any anti-censorship program”, the judicial order reads.
Anyone with the least knowledge of Iran’s cyberspace knows about Telegram’s huge social impact in the country.
Due to its high security level and simple interface, Telegram has turned into the most popular messenger in Iran. Although the Iranian regime is reluctant to release figures in this regard, but the dimensions of such popularity are beyond being hidden or even controlled.
70 percent of Telegram’s total data exchange is related to its Iranian users. The United States is second with four percent, most likely due to the country’s Iranian nationals.
Telegram has 40 million users in Iran. This is half the country’s population and twice the number of its working population (the official figures put the country’s working population at 22 million).
Iranians are the record holders of using telegram in a number of ways: Close to one third of Telegram channels are Persian language; an Iranian Telegram user on average is member of 18 Telegram channels; and each Persian Telegram channel has on average 8,500 members, putting the Iranian users in first place in this category as well.
A huge part of Iranian Telegram users are the country’s youth and teenagers, who use the app to cover nearly 60 percent of their entertainment needs. Despite the Iranian regime’s warnings, threats and restricting measures, the use of Telegram among Iranian young population has never declined, as acknowledgements made by Iranian regime officials show that more than 30 million Iranians used anti-filter programs to access Telegram during the January uprising days when the government banned the app. Besides, the users at the time were somehow unprepared as they hadn’t planned in advance for a ban on the app.
Telegram’s role in Iran’s economic scene
The number of jobs directly and indirectly related to Telegram is estimated to be one and five million, respectively. Created by 10 to 15 thousand Telegram-Instagram based online businesses, the jobs cover such areas like online shops, services and advertisements through setting up popular Telegram channels.
Direct sales of goods and providing commercial services and advertisements have spread over the past few years and are considered as the most important online businesses.
Direct economic consequences of Telegram ban
“Online businesses, including online shops, service providers and taxi ordering services suffered 500 billion tomans in financial damages over the past few days”, says deputy chair of Tehran ICT Guild’s Internet Commission, following the January uprising days when Telegram was blocked.
Also deputy chair of Modern Knowledge-based Businesses Commission in regime’s chamber of commerce pointed out in the same days that “there are 10-15 thousand purely online businesses in the country that will go totally bankrupt if there’s a constant ban on Telegram.”
At the same time, regime’s Digital Media Center, linked to Ministry of Islamic Guidance, announced that nearly 9,000 online businesses were hurt during the time when Telegram was banned, and thus hitting the country’s economy.
Telegram ban: yet another dilemma
Iranian regime’s ‘suppression dilemma’ has resurfaced once again, this time in the cyberspace. On one hand, regime’s nature requires that it turns to oppressive measures to harness society’s eruptive state. On the other hand, however, such measures themselves have the biggest impact on deepening, increasing and spreading disgust towards the regime.
طالب مارا در وبلاک خط سرخ مقاومت ودر توئیتربنام @bahareazady دنبال کنید
ما بر اندازیم# تهران # قیام دیماه# اعتصاب # تظاهرات# قیام سراسری# اتحاد #