Chinese Journalists Supported On Yahoo Video

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The new video service from Yahoo now matches competitors YouTube and Google Video in permitting users to upload videos to the service for sharing with others; two videos that made it to the system may be a bit embarrassing to Yahoo.

The Good Morning Silicon Valley blog posted a brief note on a couple of people using Yahoo Video’s recently released upload service. One video came from a lawyer for imprisoned Chinese journalist Shi Tao, brought to viewers in crystal clarity from ABC News.

Also, a video by the brother of imprisoned journalist Li Zhi, also from ABC News, appears in a Yahoo Video search for Yahoo China. The producers of both videos have helpfully provided translation via subtitles of both men’s speeches, which we’ve excerpted as follows.

“Yahoo didn’t only give information about Shi Tao, it has done the same to many others,” said Shi Tao’s lawyer. “Does Yahoo have to absolutely obey Chinese law? In fact, it has the right to decide. That’s to say that if (Yahoo) finds there is a contradiction between the law and the protection of human rights, for example freedom of communication and expression, then Yahoo has the right not to comply.”

“My brother is in jail because of you,” said Li Zhi’s brother. “His health wasn’t great before he was imprisoned, he had hepatitis. Since he’s been in jail, he’s caught pleurisy because of doing hard labor.

“This has just torn our family apart. He’s been found guilty under Chinese law, although when you look at his file, I’m convinced he’s innocent. Your company is the reason all of this has happened.”

Yahoo CEO Terry Semel came in for some criticism today when the Wall Street Journal’s “D: Notebook” blog cited his remarks defending the company’s actions in China. Much has been made of Semel’s response to a question of whether Yahoo would have appeased Nazi Germany as it did China.

It’s probably fairer to present Semel’s comments as noted in the blog before the Nazi question, which we’ll do here, and allow the reader to decide what he might mean:

“I continue to be pissed off, outraged, and feel very very bad about it,” Mr. Semel said. “But you have to follow the laws of the country you’re

Mr. Semel went on: “I don’t think any one company is going to change a country, and I dont think any one industry is going to change a country.”

One attendee asked Mr. Semel if Yahoo would have cooperated with Nazi Germany the same way it has with China. His response: “Yahoo has a basic obligation not to have a point of view on basic content, and to present content and aggregate things and to allow people to make their own choices. I don’t know how I would have felt then.” He added, “I don’t feel good about what’s happening in China today. I don’t feel good about some of the things that happen in our own country.”

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David Utter is a staff writer for WebProNews covering technology and business.

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