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February 22, 2007, by Léon Krijnen

When in China: Internet Freedom   

The Internet promised unlimited access to information and the free flow of ideas across borders. Yet, in China with an internet population of 137 million users and 2.5 million bloggers, internet censorship seems to tighten in the run up to the Beijing Olympics in 2008.

‘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.’ (Google representative Elliot Schrage) What dilemmas are Internet corporations facing in China? What choices are they making?

- Invitation by the The Dutch Journalist Association (NVJ) -

Are Internet companies part of the censorship problem or part of the solution? Can Internet companies work together effectively and influence the way the Internet is used in China so as to bring about positive outcomes for human rights? Can they offer services towards improving the human rights situation in China?

Internet corporations such as Microsoft, Google and Yahoo offer a variety of web services in China. Through their activities they have encounters with the Chinese censorship system. Compliance with government laws and requests conflicts with their own corporate ethics, with international standards for free information flow and with customer and individual human rights.

This panel discussion examines the scope for non-compliance and ways to improve the censorship situation that corporations encounter in China. We will discuss possibilities, pitfalls and responsibilities regarding Internet censorship for ICT corporations.

Participants: Garrie van Pinxteren (former NRC China correspondent), Nicholas Dearden (Amnesty Irrepressible campaign), Dr Jens Damm (E-government in China at Freie Universität Berlin) and Peter Olsthoorn (Web journalist on ICT).
Debate leader: Jolanda Polderman (RTV Noord Holland).

Time: Saturday 3 March 2007 at 14.15h
Place: Passenger Terminal Amsterdam, route

Registration: To attend please register in advance.
Inquiries: Maurice Sistermans, 020 7733785 of m.sistermans@amnesty.nl
Thomas Bruning, secretary general NVJ, 020 6766771 or tbruning@nvj.nl
Website: www.MadeinChina2007.nl

Background information:
· Undermining Freedom of Expression in China: The role of Yahoo!, Microsoft and Google
· Multi stakeholder initiative on online human rights
· Yahoo’s and Amnesty International’s position on the Shi Tao case
· Yahoo’s data contributes to arrests in China: free Shi Tao from prison in China!
· irrepressible.info

Posted: February 22, 2007 05:56 PM (351 words).   

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