Iran’s state telecommunications company is offering rewards to citizens who turn in their neighbors for sending or receiving “immoral” messages on their cell phones, according to a report in The News International.
"There are rewards for those who report senders of immoral multimedia messages to the judiciary," Vafa Ghaffarain, head of Iran's telecommunications company, was quoted as saying.
News of the rewards came as the Iranian government issued a press release stating it would try to monitor and censor the MMS (multimedia messaging service) material on all phones. MMS messages contain still images, audio, and video.
The ban stems from an order issued in April by the Supreme Council of the Cultural Revolution that the Iranian Telecommunications Ministry must acquire technology for filtering multimedia messages, Foreign Policy magazine reported. The council reportedly said that the measure was necessary to prevent "immoral actions and social problems."
Iran already practices heavy censorship on Internet access, banning thousands of sites and blogs that contain sexual or politically controversial content, the News reports. Sites advocating women’s rights and social networking sites are also banned.