|Journalists union calls for Yahoo boycott|
Fri Jun 2, 2006
By Jeffrey Goldfarb
LONDON (Reuters) - The union representing journalists in the UK and Ireland called on its 40,000 members to boycott all Yahoo Inc. products and services to protest the Internet company's reported actions in China.
The National Union of Journalists said it sent a letter on Friday to Dominique Vidal, Yahoo Europe's vice president, denouncing the company for allegedly providing information to Chinese authorities about journalists. The union also said it would stop using all Yahoo-operated services.
Yahoo has been cited in court decisions as supplying China's government with information to help them identify, prosecute and jail writers advocating democracy.
"The NUJ regards Yahoo!'s actions as a completely unacceptable endorsement of the Chinese authorities," wrote Jemima Kiss, chairman of the NUJ new media council in the letter to Vidal.
A Yahoo spokeswoman in San Francisco could not immediately be reached.
Yahoo Chairman and Chief Executive Terry Semel said last month the company had no choice but to comply with local laws and did not have the power to change Chinese policy. He added that he was seeking help from the U.S. government to urge China to allow more media freedom.
The company has been accused by the NUJ and other journalism groups of providing records that led to an eight-year prison term for Li Zhi for discussing pro-democracy issues in a Web forum and of helping identify Shi Tao, who was sentenced to prison for 10 years for forwarding a government email to the foreign press.
Kiss said the NUJ was advising all members, who include reporters, editors, photographers and illustrators, to boycott Yahoo until the company "changes its irresponsible and unethical policy".
Other Internet companies also have come under fire lately for some actions in China, including Google Inc. for saying it would block politically sensitive terms on its Web site in the country and Microsoft's MSN for shutting down a blog under Chinese government orders.