Google, Yahoo, MSFT Asked To Stop Censorship For One Day

    March 6, 2009

It never hurts to ask.  Representatives of Reporters Without Borders and Amnesty International have written the CEOs of Google, Yahoo, and Microsoft to see if they would please cease censoring things for just one day.

 Jean-François Julliard
 Jean-François Julliard

Jean-Francois Julliard, the secretary-general of Reporters Without Borders, and Larry Cox, the executive director of Amnesty International, explained in an open letter that March 12th is World Day Against Cyber Censorship.  And "World Day Against Cyber Censorship is a day to advance and celebrate a free Internet as an open window to the world and denounce the attacks made on the free flow of information online."

Not that Julliard and Cox accused the Internet companies of anything so unpleasant.  Indeed, the pair were really quite polite as they put most of the blame on authoritarian regimes (China’s earned special mention), and explained that they understand the challenges Google, Yahoo, and Microsoft face.

Julliard and Cox just want to "send a strong message . . . that censorship online is not the only way forward."

So will the Internet companies comply?  Well, it’s doubtful.  If they attempt to let information flow freely, their sites will probably be blocked for weeks or months, helping precisely no one.  Plus, the loss of traffic and ad revenue might cause a fair amount of financial damage.

The only wildcard is Carol Bartz.  It’s possible – though unlikely – that she’ll want to take Yahoo in a new direction and shed the "moral pygmies" image.