UK Journalists Boycott Yahoo!

    June 2, 2006
    WebProNews Staff

A journalist organization representing 40,000 British and Irish members announced a boycott of Yahoo! today in response to the search company’s compliance with Chinese authorities to help imprison pro-democracy reporters. The National Union of Journalists advised its members to cancel all Yahoo! operated services.

The group sent a letter to Yahoo! Europe vice president Dominque Vidal expressing the unanimity of the organization’s condemnation of Yahoo! for supplying the identities of several journalists and pro-democracy writers.

“The Chinese government has an atrocious record of censorship and free expression and it is essential that the rest of the world publicly objects to and campaigns against this repressive regime,” said Jeremy Dear, general secretary of the NUJ.

“The NUJ regards Yahoo!’s actions as a completely unacceptable endorsement of the Chinese authorities. As a result, the NUJ will be cancelling all Yahoo!-operated services and advising all members to boycott Yahoo! until the company changes its irresponsible and unethical policy.”

The group cited three examples of the company’s aid to Chinese authorities. Shi Tao was sentenced to 10 years in prison for leaking a government email warning the domestic press of the danger of Tiananmen Square reporting to the foreign press.

Jiang Lijun was given four years in prison for labeling the Chinese government “autocratic” and saying he preferred a western-style democracy. Yahoo! provided the identifying information the government used to track Jiang down.

Eight years was the sentence given Li Zhi for leading discussions in a pro-democracy web forum and emailing supporters of the cause.

In the past Yahoo! has insisted that the company is only complying with Chinese law and that the nature of the “crime” is not known at the time the government requests the identifying information. Yahoo! and other search engines have appealed to the U.S. government to put pressure on China to loosen its laws against speech.


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