On Friday, Telegram, a popular messaging app was banned by a Brazil’s Supreme Court judge nationwide, for not cooperating with the authorities. The ban on Telegram is believed to affect the re-election of President Jair Bolsonaro, who happens to have more than 1 million followers on the platform. The re-election event is scheduled for October.
Alexandre de Moraes, Justice of Brazil’s Supreme Court said that Telegram has repeatedly failed to cooperate with Brazilian authorities, including a police request to provide information and block profiles of a blogger named Allan dos Santos, who was charged for spreading untrue information about Bolsanaro.
The justice added that Telegram has not named a legal representative in Brazil like its competitors.
Many supporters of Bolsonaro have turned to Telegram after WhatsApp changed its message sharing policies. The president has claimed that de Moraes’ rulings go against freedom of speech.
Last October, De Moraes, had issued an arrest warrant for dos Santos for spreading misinformation on social media. The blogger is now a fugitive based in the US and is active on Telegram.
De Moraes in his ruling said that Telegram has failed to follow judicial orders on every occasion. He also added that the suggestion to ban the app nationwide came from the federal police. However, Dos Santos said that Moraes take decisions on his will.
In a radio and TV broadcast, the blogger told Jovem Pan that he believes the people of Brazil will not tolerate these types of atrocities anymore.
Justice de Moraes said in his ruling that Telegram will remain suspended until the previously ordered issues are fulfilled by them. He gave five days to Google, Apple, and other Brazilian phone carriers to ban Telegram from their respective platforms.
Bolsonaro has encouraged his followers to join Telegram since January 2021, the same month when he was asked by his supporters what he thought about all the Telegram investigations.
In response, he said that it is a cowardly act.
Pavel Durov, one of the founders of Telegram said in a statement that the app had a problem with emails going between the Brazilian Supreme Court and telegram.org corporate. This has resulted in a miscommunication, which is taken as a sign of unresponsiveness by the court.
Durov also apologised to the Brazilian Supreme Court for their negligence. He added that they could have done better and avoided this ruling.
He has requested the court to delay its ruling for a few days so that they can fix the situation by appointing a representative.