NUJ China Boycott

The NUJ has called on its members:

to boycott all Yahoo 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.

The background to the boycott is as follows:

Yahoo has come under fire, including at a congressional hearing in February, for choosing to locate servers used by Yahoo Mail inside China instead of in a jurisdiction that is more protective of free speech and privacy rights, which Google and Microsoft already do. (A Yahoo representative did not return multiple phone calls on Wednesday.)

Paris-based Reporters Without Borders revealed in September that information provided by Yahoo was used to convict Shi Tao, a 37-year-old journalist, of leaking “state secrets.” Then, in February, the group reported that Yahoo turned over information that led to the arrest of Li Zhi, a 35-year-old ex-civil servant from the southwestern province of Dazhou, and an eight-year prison sentence in 2003.

Hat tip: Juan Golblado

Gordon adds: Yahoo! has now been involved in helping to jail a total of four journalists. Wang Xiaoning was jailed in 2003, but his jailing only came to light in April of this year when he was sentenced to ten years.

It seems like it will be only a matter of time before more are jailed with the help of evidence handed over by internet firms. In January, internet darling Google agreed to censor its Chinese service to get its foot in the door.

Venichka adds: Further information on Yahoo’s activities in China, and more details about Shi Tao can be found at this Flickr group. As Yahoo acquired Flickr several months ago, the group also serves as a focal point for (paying) users of Yahoo, who do not wish to participate in the boycott, to none the less exert pressure upon the company.