Publishers call for the suspension of Telegram in Italy

The Federation of Italian Publishers calls for the suspension of Telegram to prevent the spread of "pirated" magazines and newspapers. Losses estimated at hundreds of millions every year

Telegram has come under the eye of the storm: the messaging app alternative to WhatsApp hosts dozens of groups where you can read pirated magazines and newspapers for free, or by paying a few euros per month. The editorial products would arrive directly on the phone of the user who, in this way, is not forced to subscribe or buy a newspaper online in order to read it.

The illicit use of the messaging app has led the Italian Federation of Newspaper Publishers (FIEG) to ask the Communications Authority (AGCOM) to suspend Telegram in Italy. Not of individual groups, of the entire platform. The messaging app is among the most widely used in the world and has a particular feature: it is designed to be totally secure and encrypted and therefore it is almost impossible to control what happens within it, both by hackers and by the authorities. For this reason, it can also be used for illicit purposes, such as piracy.

The FIEG against Telegram: what happened in the last few days?

Through a press release published on the official website on April 14, the FIEG asked AGCOM to suspend the messaging app in our country. Not the individual groups or channels, but the entire system used by millions of people around the world. The request was announced by Andrea Riffeser Monti, the President of FIEG.

The Telegram channels monitored are about ten: they are completely dedicated to the illicit dissemination of magazines and newspapers of different kinds. There are about 580,000 registered users in these groups, with a 46% increase in the last three months and an 88% increase in the number of illicitly distributed newspapers.

Based on this data, the FIEG has developed an estimate of losses that is around 670,000 euros per day, which corresponds to 250 million euros per year. Following this analysis, Riffeser Monti, goes on to say that this practice causes enormous damage to the entire sector. The risk is to destroy the work of thousands of people who make up the production chain of the press: publishers, journalists, distributors, printers, polygraphers and newsagents. The communiqué concludes by saying that all these professionals are "committed, among many sacrifices, to ensure the continuity of a primary good, such as that of information, which, never as at this time, is called upon to perform its highest function as a constitutionally guaranteed right."

Piracy on Telegram

Already in 2019, copies of the most popular magazines circulated undisturbed on Telegram and WhatsApp. The Postal Police had opened investigations and users were punished with heavy fines. There were 10 thousand people caught in the act and who risked fines of 24 thousand euros for downloading online magazines on their phones instead of buying them at full price at authorized channels.