The Washington Post

Syria reportedly bans iPhone to stop flow of protest footage online

Syria has banned the iPhone in an attempt to stop the constant flow of images and video taken by citizens of the anti-government protests and shared online, the BBC reports.

In this citizen journalism image made on a mobile phone, anti-government protesters shout slogans as they protest in Homs province, Syria, Sept. 29, 2011. (AP)

The Next Web blog reports that activists are being served with notices from the customs department of the Syrian finance ministry. An alleged example of that customs document, posted on Lebanese Web site el-Nashra, states that authorities will confiscate any iPhones that are found and prosecute the owners.

The reported iPhone ban comes as the United Nations’ human rights chief called on the international community Friday to protect Syrian civilians. More than 4,000 civilians have now died in the eight-month-old uprising demanding the ouster of President Bashar al-Assad. In November, 950 people were killed in gunbattle, making it the deadliest month.

Syria has banned most international media from covering the protests, leading to much of the information coming out the country being shared by citizen journalists, many of them armed only with an iPhone. It is unclear whether smart phones were banned as well.

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