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Danish government party demands ban on messaging app Telegram

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Ritzau/The Local - [email protected]
Danish government party demands ban on messaging app Telegram
FILE PHOTO: A keyboard is placed in front of a displayed Telegram logo in this illustration taken February 21, 2023. Illustration photo: Dado Ruvic/Reuters/Ritzau Scanpix

The senior party in Denmark’s coalition government, the Social Democrats, says it wants to ban the messaging app Telegram in Denmark.

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Abuse in the form of "shaming" (Danish: udskamning) is frequently directed at women with Middle Eastern backgrounds within large Danish groups on the app, and the Social Democrats therefore want it blocked in the country, equality minister Trine Bramsen and Mayor of Odense Peter Rahbek Juel said in an interview with newspaper Berlingske earlier this week.

“We have unfortunately seen some terrible examples and a lot of examples of the social media Telegram in particular being used to humiliate young ethnics [minorities, ed.] – particularly young women – and to shame them, well aware that it could have the consequence that their families exclude them or even do worse,” Bramsen said to news wire Ritzau.

The party also wants to clamp down on videos that intentionally provoke “negative social control”, they also said.

The Social Democrats have long held that people from minority backgrounds who live in Denmark can be subjected to social control, for example by parents, families or peer groups, which prevents them from fully engaging in society.

Bramsen and Juel said that criminal punishments should be raised for sharing images or videos where there is an “expectation” that they could result in “serious consequences related to negative social control”.

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The party shared what it considers to be some of the offending content with Berlingske. It said this was posted by “apparently Danish boys and girls as well as young people with non-Danish ethnic heritage”. The examples come from a Telegram group with over 10,000 members.

Bramsen said that a ban Telegram would “to a greater degree” be an EU matter, but that she still wants to block the app in Denmark as soon as possible.

“Against other types of … illegal content, it’s possible to put up some filters. It will be a case for the courts in the end. But we must, through legislation, ensure that the right laws are in place,” she said.

“I don’t think we can look the other way as platforms are used for crime again and again and put young people’s lives in danger,” she said.

“You can ask yourself the obvious question of whether we should transfer the same legislation that applies in the physical world where you can close places down and apply bans on assembling at places where crime is repeatedly committed,” she said.

Telegram was launched in Russia in 2013.

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