Iraq's telecoms ministry said on Sunday it has blocked the Telegram messaging app over national security concerns and in order to preserve the integrity of users' personal data, which it said the app had mishandled, Reuters reported.

The app is widely used in Iraq for messaging but also as a source of news and for sharing content.

Some channels contain large amounts of personal data including the names, addresses and family ties of Iraqis.

The ministry said in a statement it had asked the app to close down "platforms that leak the data of the official state institutions and the personal data of citizens... but the company did not respond and did not interact with any of these requests."

Telegram did not immediately respond to an emailed request for comment.

In 2018, Iran’s judiciary blocked voice calls on Telegram, the most popular messaging app in the country, following the arrest of 12 people who ran popular reformist channels on the app.

Then-Iranian President Hassan Rouhani later criticized the ban on Telegram, saying the move is “the opposite of democracy”.