Publishers fear Apple iPhone app censorship
German publishers are ringing alarms over what they say are threats to press freedom stemming from Apple's scrutiny of an iPhone application from tabloid daily Bild that undresses women.
"Apple has tightened the rules" at its online App Store, which sells applications for the iPhone and for its soon-to-be released iPad tablet computer, and bans some without justification, the VDZ federation said this week.
Bild, the best-selling German newspaper, portrays naked women daily on its
front page but has been forced to put a bikini on the pin-up in its iPhone application that has already reportedly sold 100,000 copies.
A "Shake the Bild Girl" application allowed iPhone users to undress the model by shaking their phones.
An application for the magazine Stern was censured in January because it presented risque photos, a VDZ spokesman said.
Axel Springer, which publishes Bild, "must be worried by the latest developments," VDZ said in a statement. "Today it is bare breasts, tomorrow is
might be something else.
"We consider Apple's behaviour to be unfair, arbitrary, bad for business and dangerous for freedom of the press."
Apple's position underscores "the need for editors to develop their own electronic distribution platform, independent of Apple and Google" to retain control over applications, the federation said.
It called on the US group to "respond to the accusations and to present clear rules" on what it will accept.
US media said Monday that Apple had begun to remove risque applications from the App Store, which the US company declined to comment.
Apple is also blamed for inconsistency in deciding which applications can be used by iPhones, since it allows the US magazine Playboy to offer some erotic content.
A report in the Wall Street Journal said stricter standards applied by Apple appeared to be an effort to clean up the App Store before the first iPads are shipped next month.