ASTANA -- The Kazakh Journalists' Union on Thursday (June 21) awarded Telegram messaging app creator Pavel Durov for fighting censorship in Russia.
Announcing the award, the union praised Durov "for his principled position against censorship and the state's interference in citizens' free online correspondence".
Russia's censorship agency, Roskomnadzor, in April began enforcing a court-ordered ban on the popular app after Durov refused to provide Telegram's encryption keys to Russian security services. The Kremlin accused Telegram of facilitating terrorism.
Repeated protests by thousands of Telegram users have taken place in Russia since then, according to Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty. Usage of virtual private networks to enable continued access to Telegram skyrocketed in Russia after the ban went into effect.