Allow all nationalities to join public Telegram groups

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Of the myriad problems developing countries face, one oft-overlooked is the lack of communication. Different information channels are censored, blocked, sanctioned, or simply out of reach. Lack of money, means to transfer money, know-how, and language and cultural barriers add to the intensity of the problem. In such an environment, it is of first-order import that the free world and its institutions do what they can to ameliorate the information isolation less privileged people face.

I am an Iranian. My people's connections to the outside world have been dismal for decades. In recent years, however, Telegram has seen an enormous adoption in this country. It has, literally, changed the whole Iranian socio-political landscape; That it wouldn't be censored by the Islamic Republic was one of the more prominent promises of the campaign of the current president. (It, most unfortunately, has been censored anyway now. But this blockage, the Iranian people have all but overcome.)

On this unique channel of free expression for my people, we are, arbitrarily, blocked from creating or even joining public Telegram groups. In fact, not even the administrator of a public group can allow a person who has registered with an Iranian phone number in. Clearly, old-school anti-censorship tools like VPNs are of no use, as well. This unnecessary, and inexcusable blockage effectively cuts off my people (and other similarly treated nations) from a huge portion of one of the few channels to the outside world. The Islamic Republic is hard at work isolating the Iranian people; Should the free world help their mission?



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