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Judge Santiago Pedraz has decided to request a report from the General Information Commissioner before blocking the Telegram messaging platform in Spain. The magistrate intends for the report to explain the exact characteristics of Telegram and the potential impact that a temporary suspension may have on users.

The announcement of the suspension this Friday night caused an unprecedented stir among the more than eight million users that Telegram has in Spain. Other countries have tried, but failed, to limit a platform like Telegram, with much content linked to dissident activities in undemocratic or directly illicit or illegal countries.

The initial measure to block Telegram was taken at the request of Mediaset, Atresmedia and Movistar Plus. Media groups have denounced the application because, on some of its channels, content protected by copyright is shared. The judge of the National Court issued an order so that, within three hours of receiving it, the operators suspended the resources associated with Telegram. However, this Monday morning, the operators consulted by EL PAÍS had not received any notification yet.

Telegram is an instant messaging application launched in 2013 and directed by Russian-born businessman Pavel Durov. It stands out as an alternative to WhatsApp for its user freedom and privacy policy of refusing to share information with authorities. This made it a popular communication channel used by dissidents in authoritarian regimes such as Russia or Iran where it has been used to organize protests. However, it has also led to channels of sensitive content flourishing and remaining protected from anonymity: drug sales, far-right activities, disinformation dissemination, violent content distribution child pornography or terrorism-related activities without going into further detail about these concerns

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