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Google’s Press Meeting (censorship)

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There’s a lot of great reports coming from Google’s annual press and shareholder meeting, held yesterday at the Googleplex. To make it a little easier to digest, we’re going to break it down into three parts for you. Here’s part four, you can also read part one, part two and part three.

Despite a lot of criticism and pressure of its move to bow to censorship laws in China, Google’s shareholders voted against a proposal that would have required the company to not engage in self-censorship.

Patrick Doherty, who introduced the proposal on behalf of the New York City pension funds and the Office of the Comptroller of New York City, referred to Google’s congressional testimony from last year (listed on Google’s site), which acknowledged that “the requirements of doing business in China include self-censorship–something that runs counter to Google’s most basic values and commitments as a company.”

The proposal would have required that Google not engage in self-censorship of its products, Doherty said, and also that the company clearly disclose when any censorship had occurred.

Google’s board of directors had recommended shareholders vote against the proposal – which pretty much secured the outcome would be so – saying it would cause Google.cn to shutdown.

…Google is working with human-rights groups, socially responsible investors, and others to come up with guidelines for operating in such countries, but that “applying a rigid set of rules here is not always going to get us to the right outcome.”

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